Eddie Redmayne is about to become a major star, the word Oscar is even being bandied about and it’s down to his mesmerising new role as Professor Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything.
This month’s Variety features an indepth profile and interview with the 32 year old Brit.
Eddie on why he won’t engage in rivalry with Benedict Cumberbatch (who many also feel is an Oscar contender for The Imitation Game and also played Hawking in a 2004 BBC movie). “I totally see why people are (comparing us), because of the subject matter; we both play geniuses,” says Redmayne, sitting on the outdoor patio of his SoHo hotel on a recent New York afternoon. “But I won’t be engaged in that. I think he’s the most beautiful actor. I’ve long admired his work, and continue to do so. I hope there’s room for both our films.”
Redmayne also reveals how he hit the Hollywood trail in his early 20’s with other actors like Andrew Garfield and Jamie Dornan “You’d come over for a month,we used to go to the Standard Hotel in West Hollywood, and split a sandwich between us because that meant we could get cheaper parking. We’d swim and play table tennis for hours.” It was, in many ways, a surreal existence trying to break into the business. “We were staying on friend’s agents’ floors, and renting places together,” Redmayne says. “I’d be driving the cheapest rental car. But then you’d get to turn up at the CAA party. All these huge limos would arrive. I’d be in this red blob.”
The actor also went the extra yards in his researching of Hawking “I tried to read literally everything I could get my hands on,” says the actor, who pored over all of Hawking’s books. “It became hilarious, because I would get 40 pages in, and I was like — ‘Eddie, none of these words make any sense to you.’ ” He contacted a physics teacher at Imperial College London who proved to be a good translator. He also worked with a choreographer, Alexandra Reynolds (she made the zombies twitch in “World War Z”). “We put what we knew into picking up a pen, drinking, walking, existing,” says Reynolds, who labored with Redmayne for four hours a day, and filmed his movements on an iPad for them to study. She’d pose questions to him like, “What’s happening in your pelvis? Are you holding your head right?”
The most nerve-wracking aspect of the process was meeting Hawking himself. He was so nervous, he spent the first part of the conversation telling Hawking about the physicist’s own life. He called him “professor,” but Hawking wanted to be referred to by his first name. “It was complicated when I met him, because by that point, I’d spent so much time researching him,” Redmayne says. “It was the trepidation of not only meeting someone with an extraordinary brain and iconic status, but also — what if I got it wrong?”
In the end Hawking was so pleased with the film that he allowed the producers to use his trademarked electronic voice.
Read the whole interview and check out an exclusive clip at Variety.