By far the most popular subject in my inbox today. We don’t have to call it Les Mis anymore. It will be as Hugo intended it: Les Miserables. Click here for a refresher on the difference between Les Miserables and Les Mis.

I’m sure you’ve heard, right?

Taylor Swift is not Eponine.


What happened?

On November 30, Page Six reported that Swift had been shortlisted for the role along with Lea Michele, Scarlett Johansson, and Evan Rachel Wood.

On January 3, Twitch had the exclusive that Eponine was offered to Swift. Broadway World and several other well connected outlets did not dispute the Twitch break and seemed to corroborate the news with their own coverage, inciting reaction ranging from hand hearty support to loud ass protest. As you know, I too contributed to the cacophony of Maria Callas-like wailing that accompanied the announcement. (Alliteration over.)

Then, last night in London, it was announced, dramatically, on stage in London, that Samantha Barks will be Eponine and not Taylor Swift. Click here to watch that video. Barks, as you can see, dropped an “aw shucks, me, really?” Swift move of her own upon hearing the confirmation. If you’re wondering about her qualifications, Barks is familiar with the source material, having performed as Eponine in the Les Miserables 25th anniversary concert. Video of that is below.

Curiously enough though, Swift was just in London last week, confiding in the swans, seeking inspiration at the Princess Diana Memorial. Click here if you missed those photos. On the same trip, she was also spotted at lunch with Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, a very, very RARE pap score of the couple, and one they can totally blame on their young companion. You’ll recall, it was G who set Swifty up with Jakey G, kicking off their brief affair that ended with him bailing on her because he couldn’t handle the attention.

So... just to recap...

Taylor gets offered the part at the behest of studio bosses who want her audience. She goes to London. The part is no longer hers...

Did she turn it down? After sage advice from Gwyneth and Chris (I just cracked up), or did she sing for Tom Hooper, the director, and it all fell apart?

How now? In Hollywood? Substance over Celebrity?

Almost everyone I’ve reached out to last night and this morning believe that Eponine was indeed extended to Taylor. It was a “business decision”. At press time, it’s not known exactly what went down but something did happen in London last week that shook up the casting. What we have to watch for now is how they spin it.

Specifically, how Swifty spins it.

And, going backwards for a minute, it’s also worth discussing the consequences of the original leak to Twitch that Swift had secured the role. It is a well known move in Hollywood for actors to announce that they’ve landed a part before actually landing it, if that part is widely coveted, to push off other candidates. Did Team Taylor take that gamble only to have it backfire, ultimately, because the client couldn’t deliver creatively? Or will we hear about it in a future song - that she was the one who walked away because it just didn’t feel right in her soul?

Either way, on the heels of the similar Blake Lively situation that went down earlier this week, it’s an interesting shake-up where PR and strategy are concerned re: casting leaks as publicists and talent managers have to be increasingly careful about what they tip off and when. Or risk major embarrassment for the client.