Joe Alwyn lost an iconic role in a romantic comedy when he was just a child

Joe Alwyn has become one of the brightest young screen stars in recent years. The actor rose to prominence in 2018 The favourite and has since won mainstream acclaim in the 2022 TV drama Conversations with friends. However, if one of his early auditions went a little better, maybe Alwyn would have gained notoriety much sooner.

Joe Alwyn became interested in film at a young age

Joe Alwyn attends the ‘Stars At Noon’ photocall during the 75th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 26, 2022 in Cannes, France. | Stéphane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Joe’s father introduced him to classic cinema early on, sparking an interest that eventually led to his son’s Hollywood career.

“There really wasn’t a light bulb moment. You know I studied [acting] all through school, and I love watching movies,” he said on Live with Kelly and Ryan in 2018.

Richard Alwyn was an educational filmmaker who spoke about historical and current figures. This inspired his son from an early age. Alwyn grew up watching her father write, direct, produce and edit films that aired around the world. This privilege gave him the kind of education he needed, even if it wasn’t his acting skills that got him noticed.

“[The auditions] happened because of Zorro,” he explained. “I took these fencing lessons. They will often send casting directors to schools and community centers. So this local community center where I took fencing lessons, this brilliant British casting director called Shaheen Bag, she came and she saw me there. And that meant I had free time to go to that audition.

The hearing? A cult romantic comedy: love in fact.

Joe Alwyn Lost ‘Love Actually’ Role to Thomas Brodie-Sangster

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love in fact is an ensemble film starring Keira Knightley, Liam Neeson, Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson and many other renowned British actors. It tells the intertwining stories of their characters during the holiday season, featuring love triangles, politics, spiraling musicians, and single dads (and their stepkids) finding love.

Thomas Brodie-Sangster played Sam, Liam Neeson’s Daniel stepson, who has a crush on a classmate but is too scared to tell him. The heartwarming story features Sam and Daniel growing closer, all in the name of first love. Although he lost the role, Alwyn looks back on the experience with emotion.

“I went to [the audition],” he explained. “And then they made me come back for another and another, and there was a whole series of workshops. And I didn’t understand at the end, obviously, but I remember having met Hugh Grant and [director] Richard Curtis and sit with them and read stuff.

Joe Alwyn’s rise to fame

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It took more than a decade for Alwyn to hit his big break. Straight out of school, he landed the title role in Ang Lee’s 2016 Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. Despite the film’s lackluster reception, he kept working and soon landed more roles.

In 2018, Alwyn appeared in a leading role in Oscar-darling The favourite. He also branched out into the small screen, landing a starring role in the BBC-Hulu production Conversations with friends. Upcoming roles include movies Catherine called Birdy and a modern adaptation of Hamlet. Although best known to many as Taylor Swift’s longtime partner and collaborator, Alwyn is leaving his mark on Hollywood.

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