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Eddie Redmayne, star of the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise, is speaking out against J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans tweets, as the controversy surrounding the author and her beliefs continues to swirl.
“Respect for transgender people remains a cultural imperative, and over the years I have been trying to constantly educate myself,” Redmayne said in a statement provided to Variety. “This is an ongoing process.”
“As someone who has worked with both J.K. Rowling and members of the trans community, I wanted to make it absolutely clear where I stand,” he continued. “I disagree with Jo’s comments. Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid. I would never want to speak on behalf of the community but I do know that my dear transgender friends and colleagues are tired of this constant questioning of their identities, which all too often results in violence and abuse. They simply want to live their lives peacefully, and it’s time to let them do so.”
Rowling, the creator of “Harry Potter” and its “Fantastic Beasts” spinoff series, posted a series of tweets on Saturday arguing that discussion of gender identity invalidates biological sex.
“If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth,” Rowling wrote. “The idea that women like me, who’ve been empathetic to trans people for decades, feeling kinship because they’re vulnerable in the same way as women — ie, to male violence — ‘hate’ trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences — is a nonsense.”
Queer activists and organizations such as GLAAD, as well as fans of the series, denounced Rowling’s comments, noting that they denied the lived consequences of trans people’s experiences.
In addition to his work as Newt Scamander in “Fantastic Beasts,” Redmayne earned an Oscar nomination for his work in “The Danish Girl.” He played Lili Elbe, a Danish transgender woman who was among the early recipients of sex reassignment surgery.
J.K. Rowling’s immensely popular book that started it all — “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” — will be read by a lineup of celebrities chapter-by-chapter, in a series of free videos and audio recordings to be doled out over the next several months.
Rowling’s Wizarding World announced seven readers for the special event on Twitter today: Daniel Radcliffe, Stephen Fry, David Beckham, Dakota Fanning, Claudia Kim, Noma Dumezweni and Eddie Redmayne, with more to come. Each will read different sections of the beloved fantasy (known as “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” outside the U.S.), with its themes of family, friendship, courage and overcoming adversity, for families and fans around the world.
All 17 chapters of the book will be released between now and mid-summer. Videos will be posted weekly on harrypotterathome.com, with an audio-only version available for free on Spotify.
Kicking off the series of video readings will be Harry Potter himself: Daniel Radcliffe, who will read the book’s first chapter, “The Boy Who Lived,” streaming today on Wizarding World (at this link) on Spotify (at this link).
The special series is part of Harry Potter at Home, an initiative developed by Wizarding World Digital and Rowling’s agency, the Blair Partnership, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic with the help of partners including Warner Bros., Bloomsbury, Scholastic and Pottermore Publishing.
The initiative includes an open licence to teachers allowing them to post recordings of themselves reading Harry Potter stories on educational platforms and networks and a dedicated hub of information and activities at harrypotterathome.com. In addition, Amazon’s Audible currently is making the audiobook of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (narrated by Jim Dale) available to stream for free via Audible Stories. [Source]
Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones are together again. But this time, it’s Jones who’s taken on the physical transformation.
It might not be visible to the uninformed eye at first, like Redmayne’s was for their first film together, The Theory of Everything, but Jones had to take on grueling training and perform insane stunts for her role in The Aeronauts. Jones plays a 19th century hot air balloon pilot named Amelia Wren who won’t let anything hold her down—literally and figuratively.
The movie blends fact and fiction in a captivating way. Redmayne plays real-life meteorologist and astronomer James Glaisher and Jones plays the fictional, fearless and famous daredevil, a crowd-pleasing and stronger-than-she-looks hot air balloon pilot. The film revolves around the pair’s attempt to ascend higher than any humans in history. For Jones, it’s about the flight. For Glaisher, it’s about revolutionizing meteorology. It is an amalgamation of real events, with a fictional character at its helm.
“It’s a strong film based on historical facts with fiction involved,” Redmayne explained. “Felicity’s character is based on a woman named Sophie Blanchard who was basically Napoleon’s aeronaut and her husband died—like Wren’s did—and she kept ballooning and became this huge superstar, like Wren,” he said.
Aspects of their flight were very real, like seeing butterflies and hearing noises from London’s streets thousands of meters above the ground, but they were pieces from many different flights, “not from the Glaisher flight,” Redmayne explained. “All of that was true, it’s all from this book called Falling Upwards. It’s almost the greatest hits of 19th century ballooning.”
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]
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.
As they take to the skies in a sumptuous new Victorian drama, Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne discuss their friendship with Giles Hattersley in the November issue of British Vogue.
Last year, Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne spent several months together in a wicker basket making a movie called The Aeronauts, about madcap Victorian balloonists. Based on real events from the 19th century, when gas balloons first soared to the heights of today’s commercial passenger jets in order to predict the weather, the film chronicles a circus-meets-science mission of daredevilry, for which Jones’s character spends most of her time wearing a corset at 37,000ft.
“When my agents sent me the script my first question was,” says Redmayne, his voice dropping into feigned diva-ishness, “‘Who’s playing Amelia?’” Jones interjects: “I mean, you wouldn’t want to be stuck in a basket with someone you didn’t get on with for months.”
Although it would be easy to assume The Aeronauts was all green screen, Jones and Redmayne spent a few days up in an actual balloon, packed in next to a pilot with a small army of camera-laden helicopters and drones in hot pursuit across Oxfordshire – which nearly put an end to both of them. “We were in our costumes going up and Felicity was having to jump up and sit in the ring,” begins Redmayne. “The pilot says to Felicity and I, ‘Throw out the ballast!’” Jones chimes in: “So we threw out everything in the balloon. And then we’d thrown out too much.”
“We were careening towards a forest and didn’t have anything to stop us,” continues Redmayne. “We smashed into these trees…” Jones concludes: “We were grabbing on to each other, thinking, ‘This could be it.’ Then we crash landed in a field.”
Eddie Redmayne has described the “absolutely wonderful” experience of being reunited with Felicity Jones on screen.
The pair first teamed up on 2014’s The Theory of Everything which earned Redmayne an Oscar.
Now they’re returning with The Aeronauts, which premiered in Toronto on Sunday.
“When someone suggested it, I thought oh yes, that would be amazing,” Redmayne said of their reunion.
“It was absolutely wonderful. It was one of those things where we’d had the most intense and extraordinary experience making The Theory of Everything, and when we were offered this script it was that slight nervousness of ‘Do we go back?’
“But we enjoyed that experience so much, so we called each other up and I was like, ‘I’ll do it if you do it’. And I’m so thrilled we did because it was a ride.”
Set in 1862, The Aeronauts follows balloonist Amelia Wren and meteorologist James Glaisher, whose goal is to fly higher than anyone in history.
But they face both physical and emotional challenges as the altitude increases, and the pair eventually have to fight for survival as the air thins.
The film is directed by Tom Harper and written by Jack Thorne, who is well known for scripting the Harry Potter play.
“For me it’s a film about wonder,” Redmayne told BBC News. “And we’re in a world in which, and I’m a massive culprit of it, we spend so much time looking at our phones and looking down, and for me the film is about looking up, so that’s what attracted me to it.”
Jones said the pair have a good working relationship because of their similar approach to filmmaking.
“We’re such great friends and we’re both very meticulous, we push each other, it can be quite an intense process working together,” she explained.
Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne will be reunited on screen at this year’s BFI London Film Festival in adventure movie The Aeronauts.
The pair were both Oscar-nominated for 2014’s The Theory of Everything with Redmayne winning for his portrayal of physicist Stephen Hawking.
This year’s festival will host the European premiere of The Aeronauts.
It tells the story of an attempt to fly a gas balloon higher than anyone has before.
It was previously been announced the 11-day long celebration of film will open and close with two other European premieres – Armando Iannucci’s The Personal History of David Copperfield and Martin Scorsese’s mob epic The Irishman, which stars Oscar winners Robert de Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci.
Other films that will be shown during the Festival include whodunit mystery Knives Out, starring Daniel Craig and Avengers star Chris Evans, and The King, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV Parts One and Two and Henry V, starring Timothée Chalamet and Robert Pattinson.
There will also be Gala Premieres of Avengers star Scarlett Johansson’s two most recent movies, the wartime satire Jojo Rabbit, where she plays the mother of a young boy whose imaginary friend is an idiotic version of Hitler, and Marriage Story where she stars opposite Star Wars actor Adam Driver in the story of a couple’s difficult break up.
The festival will screen a total of 229 features with around one in three of those coming from female film-makers representing a slight increase from last 2018’s programme.
Tom Harper’s “The Aeronauts,” a period drama that reunites “The Theory of Everything” stars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, is one of more than 80 features and 20 shorts that have been added to the lineup at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF organizers announced on Tuesday.
“The Aeronauts” is one of two new galas, the other being Giuseppe Capotondi’s thriller “The Burnt Orange Heresy,” with Claes Bang, Elizabeth Debecki and Mick Jagger. Other films added to the lineup include new work by Terrence Malick, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Noah Hawley, Olivier Assayas, Trey Edward Shults, Ken Loach and Gael Garcia Bernal.
The two new galas complete that section in Toronto at 20 films, while 16 new Special Presentations bring that section to 55. The additions include Kenny Leon’s “American Son”; Jason Lei Howden’s “Guns Akimbo,” with Daniel Radcliffe and Samara Weaving; Marc Meyers’ “Human Capital,” with Liev Schreiber and Marisa Tomei; Max Winkler’s “Jungleland,” with Jack O’Connell and Charlie Hunnam; Noah Hawley’s “Lucy in the Sky,” with Natalie Portman and Jon Hamm; Trey Edward Shults’ “Waves,” with Lucas Hedges and Sterling K. Brown; and Benedict Andrews’ “Seberg,” starring Kristen Stewart as the French actress Jean Seberg. [Source]
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