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From Academy Awards to a Harry Potter franchise, is Redmayne the world’s most versatile actor?
However, this month he leads an all-star cast in Netflix’s most important film of the year, The Trial of the Chicago 7, and starts filming the next installment of the world’s most popular franchise…
In Kettle’s Yard Art Gallery in Cambridge, sat on top of a dark mahogany piano is a marble sculpture called Prometheus made by Constantin Brâncusi. It is the one piece of art that Eddie Redmayne would save in the case of ultimate catastrophe.
The actor who studied Art History at Cambridge University tells me about it as we leave the film set of the third installment of Fantastic Beasts in the early days of an autumn that, we suspect, we will never forget.
Eddie Redmayne loves the arts. Not only is he knowledgeable about sculptures, painters and artists, but in his downtime he sketches and even plays the piano. It’s no surprise then that he started his career on theatre boards, despite several people warning him that he would not survive in it.
“Many people took it upon themselves to tell me that it would never work, that only extraordinary cases achieve it and that I could not make a living from this professionally.” Even his father came home one day with a list of statistics on unemployed young actors and gave it to him.
Redmayne comes across as modest, polite and with a dry (but sharp) sense of humour. He adds: “But I enjoyed theatre so much that I got to the point of thinking that if I could only do one play a year for the rest of my life… I would do it. And that would completely fulfil me.”
We interview The Trial of the Chicago 7 star Eddie Redmayne about his research into playing Tom Hayden and the film’s parallels to modern times.
The Trial of the Chicago 7, which begins streaming on Netflix October 16, tackles the backlash anti-Vietnam War protesters faced in 1968. While it is a historical drama, Aaron Sorkin dramatizes the lives and perspectives of various protestors in his script.
One of the Seven was activist Tom Hayden, who is played by Eddie Redmayne in the film. The actor spoke with Screen Rant about the lessons he learned during his research and while on set.
You play Tom Hayden, a noted activist. What did you learn about him that most people may not know while you were researching him? What do you think people can learn from his journey during the course of this film?
Eddie Redmayne: I knew nothing about Tom before. I knew nothing about this story before I read the script, and I found is so sort of thrilling to read. I found it was this weird mixture of emotional and funny, and yet it informed me about this moment I knew nothing about. It was just a delight, really, to get to research Tom’s life.
Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne is back with a new film — The Trial of The Chicago 7 — whose tagline reads ‘In 1968 democracy refused’. Little wonder its release coincides with this year’s U.S. presidential election. As Eddie Redmayne tells Tom Chamberlin, it is an urgent movement.
Have you met Eddie?” I was asked several times before I met Eddie Redmayne. It would be easier to relay the meaning behind that question in person rather than on paper, but the gist of it was this: when going through the standard operating procedure of setting up a cover shoot, questions like “Does he need a car?”, “Does he have any catering needs?”, or “Can we shoot behind-the-scenes content?” all elicited the response, “Have you met Eddie?” He took the tube, by the way.
This being my 36th issue of The Rake, with no fewer than 30 of those covers being handled by publicists who represent the great and good of the big screen, it is difficult to elucidate just how unusual it is to get a response like that. That is not to say that any of the actors we have featured on our cover have been swallowed up by their own image or seek to make life difficult for us Earth-dwelling normies, but to witness an actor voluntarily eschewing the trappings to save others the hassle is mindblowingly refreshing. So it was safe to say I was interested in meeting Eddie, and I was not disappointed.
Eddie Redmayne has the kind of social skills I am particularly fond of: he appears to be interested, if not actually interested, in what the person he is talking to is saying; he is affable and kind and self-deprecating; and he doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously, which, given he is an Oscar winner, you might forgive him for doing. He undermines the theory that fame changes and ultimately blemishes character.
Our interview, a week or so later, got off to a good start. “Oh my God, you bastard,” he said, though in every way I deserved it. I had dialled in over Zoom from my holiday in France, and I wasn’t going to keep the view to myself. Once the smugness faded, and I had to remember to try to be professional, I got on with the questions.
Award-winning actor Eddie Redmayne, who gave us unforgettable performances as Marius Pontmercy in “Les Miserables” and as physicist Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything,” is back with another memorable portrayal of American social and political activist, author and politician Tom Hayden in the Aaron Sorkin-helmed drama “The Trial of the Chicago 7.”
The 38-year-old British actor talked to us recently about his new film and what he learned from the pandemic as he isolates in London with his wife Hannah Bagshawe and their two kids — Iris, 4, and Luke, 2.
Where are you right now?
I am in the U.K. I am back to work, which is interesting and it’s lovely to be back to work actually, albeit in a sort of new normal really. But it’s exciting to be back and acting again.
Did portraying Tom Hayden make you more determined to be more of an activist?
I think, it’s an incredibly complicated question that, and one that I still honestly battle with on a daily basis. Because of the world we live in now, people in the public eye who may have no association with anything political, are given a voice that is perhaps unbalanced.
I believe that, of course we all have our own thoughts, we all have our own causes and beliefs that we are deeply passionate about, and I think that one of the great gifts about being an actor and people getting to see your films is that your voice can be amplified. So with that comes a wonderful thing in the sense that when there are things that you believe don’t have enough attention, you can try and amplify it.
At the same point, you have to be careful, because of course you come from a place of great privilege and there is this kind of, we are very lucky if you are a working actor, you live a good life and you have to be careful that you don’t end up playing through your own, you end up basically looking elitist and for basically sort of undermining the cause that you are passionate about. So my question to myself continuously is what are the things that are important to me?
I try and be an activist in my own personal way, for example here during lockdown in the United Kingdom, people with motor neuron disease, like ALS, weren’t put on the extremely vulnerable list, which was a list that allowed various special treatment I suppose with regards to care and with regards to getting food. And I found that quite shocking.
So the way that was for me, was writing our local constituency politician, and I threw the motor neuron organization that I work with, I am a patron there and I was getting on cross party Zoom calls to discuss why this was happening. So I try to do it at a place that is I suppose a grassroots level.
That being said, there are times when communities don’t have a voice that is as amplified as yours and I feel it is important in those moments just to speak up. I am still trying to work out on a daily basis what my role is. And it gets confused for people in the public eye because our voice is often louder than most people’s because of that amplification.
An inspirational conversation between Oscar winners Colleen Atwood and Eddie Redmayne. The pair discussed Colleen’s remarkable career as a Costume Designer, touching on her life, inspirations and practice. Colleen has won four Academy Awards for her work in costume and has designed for films such as Edward Scissorhands, Memoirs Of A Geisha, Chicago, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Silence of the Lambs.
The fascinating discussion touched on Colleen’s beginnings in the industry and her early aspirations as a painter. She also talked through her design process, her relationship with directors such as Tim Burton and Rob Marshall, and dissected the intricacies of creating clothing for a character for film. Colleen explained “it’s not about 50 costume changes…It’s about creating an iconic image for a character”. [Source]
After battling demons in the “Fantastic Beasts” series, Eddie Redmayne takes to the skies, literally, in “The Aeronauts.”
A salute to late 19th century pioneers, “Aeronauts” tells of the danger, glamour and spectacle that was ballooning.
But did Redmayne really go up in one?
“Usually films are about hot-air balloons but this is a gas balloon, and in Britain they haven’t had gas balloons for many years. So they built this gas balloon for the film in Germany,” Redmayne, 37, explained.
“Felicity (Jones, who plays the balloon pilot) went over there to train with the actual ropes (she climbs on the inflated balloon).
“On our first day filming, we were in this gas balloon; a pilot was hiding in the basket. Felicity and I are in costumes. We take off, helicopters and drones are filming. It was staggeringly peaceful and beautiful.
“As the helicopter filmed, Felicity very bravely went up into the hoop. Then the helicopters left and we had to land.
“Only because you can’t guide it, we were now about to bump into a bunch of trees. So the pilot in order to get ballast is throwing out sandbags and we lifted and missed the trees. We’re good.
“And then,” Redmayne said with a smile, “I’ll never forget the guy’s face, he went white — ‘We’ve thrown out all the sandbags!’ ‘You told us to throw out the sandbags!’
“We’d missed the trees but trying to land again we had no way to avoid the trees — and that’s exactly what happened. We came careering into this tree, smashed and went from total silence to carnage. Felicity’s head snapped back into the campaign chest. And there was silence.”
Redmayne, speaking in Jones’ quiet voice, whispered, ‘I don’t think I can move my leg.’
“This,” he said cheerfully, “was Day One of filming.”
Added Jones, “Cut to the ambulance.”
“Aeronauts” has Redmayne as James Glaisher, a determined if fearful scientist aboard a 19th century balloon flight piloted by Emilia (Jones), whose husband Pierre died during a flight.
“Emilia reminds him, ‘Look at the world out there.’ What I loved about their relationship,” Redmayne said, “it felt unusual. Is it romantic? At moments it leans towards that.
“But this isn’t an obvious romance, it’s two people with their own demons helping, pushing each other.
“We’ve both played love stories previously, but this felt unique in its complexity.” [Source]
Eddie Redmayne dashes over to the monitor, watching playback with his face inches from the screen. He shakes his head and mutters, eyes intent. “The thing is,” he says, staring at his miniature self, “for this to work it has to feel authentic.”
We’re on the set of The Aeronauts, an Amazon Originals film that’s loosely based on the book Falling Upwards, which chronicles a series of record-breaking air balloon flights, in 1862, by the two men who all-but invented modern meteorology. When The Aeronauts premiered at the Telluride Film Festival this autumn, it brought its stars, Redmayne and Felicity Jones, back together again for the first time since their pair-up in the Oscar-winning The Theory of Everything.
On the red carpet, the duo were all glamour. But in late summer 2018, while shooting the film’s climactic scene, things are rather more brutal. Before each take, Redmayne and Jones – who play scientist James Glaisher and aeronaut Amelia Rennes – plunge their hands into a bucket of ice water. Then they set up for the next shot in their balloon basket, which is in a specially built blue-screen room chilled to just above freezing to simulate the numbing conditions at 37,000ft.
Later, on a break in her (mercifully warmer) trailer, Jones is animated and energetic, showing off her pull-ups on a bar that’s been set up for stretching and, well, pull-ups. “[This role is] really physical,” she said, “that’s why I wanted to do it. [Amelia] is completely in her body; she’s rough and tumble, kind of a tomboy. She’s an adventurer and a pioneer.”
Jones’ role in The Aeronauts has attracted attention for more than just her performance. When the director, Tom Harper, began working on the script with screenwriter Jack Thorne (Peaky Blinders, Wild Rose), they discovered a problem. The two people in the original balloon were men of a similar age, class and race. “It didn’t necessarily give the best opportunities for conflict and for character relationship,” says Harper, who directed some of the first season of Peaky Blinders, as the BBC miniseries War & Peace and Wild Rose.
There was a minor character from the book, 19th century balloonist Sophie Blanchard, who Harper was taken with. “I thought it would be nice to base a character on one of the female aeronauts, of which there are a few, and this one in particular was quite extraordinary,” he says. “If we only accurately told stories about the past, they would only contain white men. It’s not like I started out saying, ‘Oh, I need to change this from a man to a woman in order to address the imbalance.’ It was a natural storytelling decision – an opportunity for the characters. We quite clearly don’t suggest that this is real. There are some things based on fiction, some based on fantasy and the best stories are the combination of the two.”
He’s not yet 40, but Eddie Redmayne OBE is already one of our foremost actors, bagging Oscar, Tony and Olivier awards for his boundary-pushing roles.
Now, as his latest film takes him, literally, to new heights, he talks to Gavanndra Hodge about the mayhem of family life, and being reunited with his ‘work wife’
Eddie Redmayne is desperate for a coffee. It’s 9am but he’s been up since five with his one-year-old son, Luke, and three-year-old daughter, Iris. ‘Several nappies have been changed,’ he explains. And yet he looks almost preternaturally fresh, eyes bright, skin unlined, wearing a posset-free Brunello Cucinelli shirt, gracefully hurdling over the back of the banquette to find a waitress from whom to order a latte.
Redmayne, 37, is one of our foremost actors, celebrated for extreme physical transformations and subtle emotional power. He won the best actor Oscar in 2015 for his portrayal of the late physicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, and the following year was nominated for The Danish Girl, in which he played Lili Elbe, an artist who was one of the first people to have gender reassignment surgery. He has won Tony and Olivier awards for his theatre work, has been awarded an OBE for services to drama, and has delighted Harry Potter fans with his ongoing portrayal of supernatural zoologist Newt Scamander in JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts franchise. The clip of him as Marius in Les Misérables, dashing and disconsolate, singing Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, has been viewed more that 80,000 times on YouTube.
Redmayne’s latest film is The Aeronauts, a period adventure featuring gas balloons and impressively whiskered Victorians – it is basically Gravity in tweed. Redmayne plays the meteorologist James Glaisher, who ascended to 37,000ft in a balloon, higher than anyone had gone before, in order to gather scientific data. In real life, this perilous trip was skippered by Henry Coxwell, but for the purposes of romantic frisson and anachronistic gender equality, Coxwell has morphed into the fictional balloonist Amelia Wren, played by Felicity Jones, formerly Jane Hawking to Redmayne’s Stephen.
Rami Malek and Eddie Redmayne are no strangers to transformation. In 2014, Redmayne took home the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, and most recently, reprised his role as lovable wizard Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Malek, meanwhile, took on a very different real life figure this year, as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. When interviewed together, however, the two are far more normal—though no less charismatic—than their larger-than-life on-screen personas, as they chat about everything from karaoke adventures to first kisses. Here, the pair chat about what they learned from their roles, favorite Halloween costumes, and Redmayne’s excitement about the upcoming The Hills reboot.
Have you two met before?
Eddie Redmayne: We met fleetingly. Rami Malek: We met just the other night. I was having dinner with some of my cast mates from Bohemian Rhapsody, and it was an incredible table you were sitting at. I think it would be a dream come true for a lot of people. So, I’m gonna make you name drop everyone. Go ahead. Redmayne: I can’t remember who was there. Malek: Yes, you can. Redmayne: Jamie Dornan, Armie Hammer, Justin Theroux. It was only in Los Angeles. I promise you that’s not my normal. Malek: I was intimidated to walk up to this table, and I could just see everybody flipping out that you guys were all together. Redmayne: But the first time we met, [it was] just after my daughter Iris was born, when sleep is really important. One night I heard these cranes going up outside, and I stormed outside, kind of furious. I saw these little letters on the thing saying there’s gonna filming here tonight. They were literally outside our front door, and they were filming Bohemian Rhapsody. We had this amazing makeup artist called Jan Sue who I worked with in The Theory of Everything, and Rami worked with on Bohemian Rhapsody. I texted her going, “You’re filming here?” So I took Iris, my daughter, and her first ever film set was your film set. I saw Rami from a distance, and I’ve gotta say you arrived on set so freaking in the zone that I was completely blown away by it. And then Iris started crying, and I was like, “Okie dokie.” Malek: I’ll say this; I took so many lessons from you and The Theory of Everything. I absolutely fell in love with that performance. So enchanting, so deep, so wonderful, and so inspiring. I said, “Give me everything that he had in that film.” I asked for Jan Sewell, and I asked for a movement teacher. Redmayne: What was that process like? Working with a dancer on The Theory of Everything, that changed my life for me. Malek: Almost the exact same thing. I met with choreographers to play Freddie Mercury, and the guy’s just not choreographed; he’s so spontaneous. I found Pauline Bennett, who was incredible with movement. I mean, there were moments she said, “giraffe” to me, and I kid you not, I could make a Freddie pose as a giraffe. Some moments she’d be like, “Okay, you know the, the lyrics to ‘Killer Queen?’ Do them as a Shakespearian soliloquy, if it were being played by Marie Antoinette.”
With Aardman Animation’s Early Man now playing in North American theaters, a few days ago I got on the phone with Eddie Redmayne to talk about voicing a character in the stop-motion film directed by Nick Park. During the exclusive interview he talked about how he got involved in the project, what people would be surprised to learn about the recording process, how things changed during production, his earliest memories of Aardman Animation, and so much more. In addition, he talked about his early work in Robert De Niro’s The Good Shepherd and how that project changed in the editing room, how making Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald compared to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, when he starts shooting Tom Harper’s The Aeronauts with Felicity Jones and if they’re trying to be the British Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, why he recently took some time off from acting, and so much more.
If you’re not familiar with Early Man, the film takes place during the crossroads between the Stone Age and the Bronze Age and follows a young caveman named Dug (Eddie Redmayne) who gets whisked away to a Bronze Age city ruled by Lord Nooth (Tom Hiddleston). Dug then takes part in a soccer tournament where the future of his cavepeople is on the line. Maisie Williams plays a local soccer player recruited to help Dug’s team. For more on Early Man, read Matt Goldberg’s review.
Check out what Eddie Redmayne had to say below.
Collider: You doing a lot of press today?
EDDIE REDMAYNE: It’s one of those days, but it’s all good.
You really can’t go wrong promoting an Aardman movie.
REDMAYNE: No, you know what- it’s one of those dreams to be a part of.
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