How Joseph Fiennes Lost the Obi-Wan Role in the Star Wars Prequels

How a five-year old cost Joseph Fiennes his chance at playing Obi-Wan in the Star Wars prequel trilogy...

Off the back of his success in the Oscar-winning Shakespeare in Love, actor Joseph Fiennes was a man on many big movie casting director’s wishlists in the 1990s in particular. And in a new interview, he’s revealed that he came close to landing a key role in the Star Wars prequels. Obi-Wan Kenobi as it happens, the part that was played ultimately by Ewan McGregor in the prequel trilogy.

In an interview with The Wrap, Fiennes has been talking in loose terms about his audition and why he didn’t get the role.

“I auditioned for a great director,” he recalled. “It was whittled down after many auditions to myself and another fine actor who I was at that time at drama school with.”

Fiennes was indeed at drama school with Ewan McGregor. These were not tricky clues!

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At his final audition, he said that he met the director’s daughter, “a lovely, delightful child. Must’ve been around age five — and he introduced me, ‘This is Joe and he’s quite possibly Obi-Wan Kenobi.’ Said daughter turned around and said ‘I don’t like this guy. He’s weird. I don’t like him.’ And that’s how my audition went.”

Ouch. Ewan McGregor, of course, got the role, and continues to be linked with a return to it.

You can see the interview with Fiennes here. He’s currently starring in the acclaimed The Handmaid’s Tale.