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 Sundance is always full of surprises, but you never know what they’re going to be. This year, a 26-year old British actor named Eddie Redmayne was one of them, making quite a splash in two high profile Sundance films, The Yellow Handkerchief with William Hurt, Maria Bello, and Kristin Stewart, and as Tony Baekeland in the fabulous and shocking Savage Grace with Julianne Moore and Stephen Sundance is always full of surprises, but you never know what they’re going to be. This year, a 26-year old British actor named Eddie Redmayne was one of them, making quite a splash in two high profile Sundance films, The Yellow Handkerchief with William Hurt, Maria Bello, and Kristin Stewart, and as Tony Baekeland in the fabulous and shocking Savage Grace with Julianne Moore and Stephen Dillane. He also charmed audiences as Mary Boleyn’s husband William Stafford in The Other Boleyn Girl and is about to appear in Powder Blue with an all-star cast including Jessica Biel, Patrick Swayze, Lisa Kudrow and Forest Whitaker, to name a few.


Redmayne plays the loner Gordy in
The Yellow Handkerchief,a coming of age, Louisiana road trip film directed by Udayan Prasad. When asked about the casting of Redmayne in the part, Prasad told Dish “Eddie came onto the stage in London… and just blew the town away. And then he started to make one film after another after another, and you’d have to be blind or sick not to see that he was special. [I decided to see him for this part] and in walked Eddie and he blew me away. What can I say? He was amazing and completely right for the part.”


Redmayne continued the thought, “I’ve been lucky enough to start off doing theater. As you know, the first play I did in London was called The Goat, and then I have been doing quite lot of films the past couple of years, which was never something I saw myself doing. I don’t know a huge amount about film but I’ve been loving it. It’s been kind of an exploration. I started with a quite bad American accent, but then, since studying good film…with exceptional directors, in this case Michael Butler, I got better.


Of his other starring turn, Savage Grace, in which he is quite exquisite, Redmayne says, “It’s this extraordinary story about the Baekeland family, who had an insane amount of wealth, and the couple–Brooks and Barbara Baekeland, my character’s parents–were complete social climbers. The wife once had a screen test in LA. and acted like a movie star; she is played by Julianne Moore. This wife was really screwing and social climbing her way through New York society. She had a gay son, and they would spend the summers in Cadaques, Spain, and other times in Paris. She also had this walker–an escort for social occasions–played by Hugh [Dancy], and they have this sort of quite extraordinary ménage-a-trois moment in the film.”

 

When asked about his heroes, Redmayne responded, “You know what, actually I’ve got to say, it’s interesting working with different actors, and extraordinary actors who have completely different ways of working. Some people in film are very instinctive, don’t want to rehearse, think about it at all, just want to throw it out there, and some people will really think rigorously, and what’s interesting is working with different types of people, for example Julianne Moore and Maria Bello, she’s someone who throws it from within, you know straight away, she doesn’t want to sit there and discuss it. Whereas William Hurt and maybe Stephen Dillane, actors who, you get the other side, which is talking and discussing, talking and discussing, perhaps a more theatrical technique. And what’s interesting for me is trying to take bits from both and work out what it is that my way of working is. Often people go, ‘What’s your technique?’ I don’t have one; I’m just trying to create it as we speak.


“I’m 26, older than I look,” he continues. Generally I get cast as younger than my age, but yeah, it’s an interesting time, you know. I’ve got The Other Boleyn Girl with Scarlett Johansson. I play William Stafford who was Mary Boleyn’s husband eventually, so Scarlett Johansson’s husband. And then I’ve got a film called Powder Blue with Forest Whitaker and Ray Liotta and Jessica Biel, which is an extraordinary little, sort of highly emotive, emotional kind of rigorous piece which I think will come out towards Christmas…


One might say that Redmayne has been very lucky so far, and humble as he is, he couldn’t agree more. “That’s a seriously good question”, he responded, “and the answer is, I’m winging it and at some point it will come to a drastic end.” (We don’t think so Eddie!) “But at the 

Eddie Redmayne

moment, it’s wonderful and I’m kind of was doing a play in London and a casting director came and saw it, who was casting for The Good Shepherd and he became my agent, Josh. He came and saw it play at a tiny theater in London; it was complete luck, as you’re saying. ‘How did I get so lucky?’ Luck.


As for the personal side of the handsome Mr. Redmayne, “I like to play music. I play piano and I sing, and I studied history a lot at university so that’s something I’m interested in. I’m a bit rusty on the old practical art, but I love going to museums and stuff, which is great because it kind of works with traveling a lot and the job.”


And as for his immediate plans? “I’m now gagging to go back on stage, so I’m hoping to do something this year, 2008, back in London.”

 

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 79 - September 1907
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