One of the most iconic actresses of all time, Audrey Hepburn soon emerged as a household name following her role as Princess Ann in Roman Holiday. Here, we’re taking a look back at Hepburn’s screen test that kicked started the rise.
There aren’t many actors who can become entirely synonymous with a film and a role—but Audrey Hepburn in 1953’s Roman Holiday is one of those roles and films that is so intrinsically linked that the two merge into one. Yet, originally, the role was written for Elizabeth Taylor until something changed.
In his biography of Ms Hepburn, the author Barry Paris writes: “Her Roman Holiday test took place at Pinewood Studio in London, September 18, 1951, under Thorold Dickinson’s direction. ‘We did some scenes out of the script’, he said, but ‘Paramount also wanted to see what Audrey was actually like not acting a part, so I did an interview with her’.”
Paris continues with Dickinson’s story, “We loaded a thousand feet of film into a camera and every foot of it went on this conversation. She talked about her experiences in the war, the Allied raid on Arnhem, and hiding out in a cellar. A deeply moving thing.”
Watching the footage, director William Wyler, became enamoured with Hepburn and her demeanour. He claimed: “She had everything I was looking for: charm, innocence, and talent. She also was very funny. She was absolutely enchanting, and we said, ‘That’s the girl!'”
You can watch that iconic footage, the interview and screen test, that would cement Audrey Hepburn’s role in the film and launch her career in Hollywood below.