Eddie Redmayne, at age 32, is considered a part of the new invasion of English actors, the list also including vampire heartthrob Robert Pattinson. Starting in theater, Redmayne was first brought to the Hollywood screen in Robert De Niro’s The Good Shepherd. Since then, he has appeared both on and off the camera, winning a Tony for his on-stage performance in John Logan’s Red.
Redmayne has brought himself to the center stage playing Marius in the 2012 movie rendition of Les Miserables. With incredible harmonies and a tear jerking solo of “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables,” Redmayne’s powerful voice made it all the way to the 2013 Oscars, but his talent goes far beyond his ability to sing.
Redmayne’s name has appeared once again in this years gossip about the 2014 Academy Award nominations for his role in the biotopic, The Theory of Everything. The movie follows the life of English mastermind, Stephen Hawking, his first wife Jane Hawking and his painful descent into a motor neuron disease. Redmayne’s performance is a revelation, as he diligently worked to research and understand the disease, presenting the descent with pristine accuracy, according to critics. And it’s not just in The Theory of Everything that Eddie’s acting skills have been exhibited.
Set during the 1300s, a young monk named Osmund (Redmayne) volunteers to lead a group of men to a town rumoured to be immune to the pestilence by worshipping the devil. Osmund’s intentions however, are rather jaded. You see him hustle nervously to bring food to the girl he loves, and force her to leave the village and escape the disease. As a monk, he’s required to remain celibate, tied only to God. His acting skills demonstrate this internal conflict with so much passion and desperation. In last the last ten minutes of the film Osmund experiences the biggest transformation, exchanging his monk robes for armour and a sword. As a monk, Osmund was impetuous, and blinded by emotion. His transformation into an experienced, cold-blooded killer was quick and flawless, proving Redmayne’s flexibility as a actor.
Redmayne is an Englishman from London, UK. In Hick, he portrays a southern pedophile with a limp. He spent weeks practicing and perfecting his accent and developing the violent traits of his character who, coincidentally, is also named Eddie. Andrea Portes, the author of the book and the writer of the screenplay, had nothing but praise for Eddie’s performance. She also commented on his ability to portray someone completely different from himself.
“..off camera he’s just a really kind, smart, self-deprecating, English gent,” said Portes.
One of Redmayne’s earlier films, Savage Grace, was a controversial production, bringing up topics of incest, homicide and adultery. The movie was inspired by the murder case of Barbara Baekeland. Redmayne played the part of Atony (Tony) Baekeland, who was found guilty of stabbing his mother to death. Tony Baekeland’s life was beseeched with the desertion of his father, the suicide attempt of his mother, and the isolationism of constantly moving. These complicated ordeals forced Redmayne to take on the task of portraying all these deep emotions in the stone-faced Atony. A job that he took eagerly, always looking for a challenge.
“I do normally quite enjoy what I do, but I’m also riddled with fear,” said Redmayne in the fall issue of M Magazine.
While Redmayne has done a fair share of typical English period dramas such as Glorious 39 and Birdsong, his talent for playing variable, twisted characters is uncanny. His acting flexibility makes him a valuable character and I expect that he will return to the Academy Awards soon.