10 Things You Never Knew About Eddie Redmayne
With awesome performances in movies as varied as The Theory of Everything, The Danish Girl, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Eddie Redmayne has established himself as one of the most versatile actors of his generation. His latest part comes in legal drama The Trial of the Chicago 7, premiering Friday on Netflix, in which he portrays renowned political activist Tom Hayden – another challenging real-life role for Redmayne. To whet your appetite, here are some things you might not know about the affable Londoner.
1. As a kid, he went to the same weekend stage school as James Corden.
Redmayne and Corden reminisced over their time together at the Jackie Palmer Stage School during one of Redmayne's appearances on The Late Late Show. Corden even managed to get his hands on a clip of a very angelic-looking Redmayne singing "Memory" from Cats. Aww!
2. He went to the U.K.'s most famous boarding school, Eton College, where he was in the same year as Prince William.
During an interview on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, Redmayne revealed that he had a pretty easy time on the school rugby pitch because he played alongside the future King. "I always felt a bit sorry for him," Redmayne recalled, "because basically any school you played, all they wanted to do was tackle Prince William so they could say, ‘I tackled Prince William.’"
3. He then majored in History of Art at the University of Cambridge, where he chose a somewhat surprising dissertation topic.
Namely, the signature deep blue hue first mixed by French artist Yves Klein. “I’m color-blind, but I can pick out that blue anywhere,” Redmayne told W in 2013. “I wrote 30,000 words on this color, and I never grew tired of it. The pigment is staggering. It’s amazing that a color can be so emotional. One can only hope to achieve that intensity in acting.”
4. As a 12-year-old, he auditioned for Sir Ian McKellen... but didn't get the part.
When McKellen was casting his 1995 movie adaptation of William Shakespeare's Richard III, Redmayne went up for a small role as one of two young princes imprisoned in the Tower of London. "We missed the chance, when we were auditioning little kids for the film," McKellen recalled in 2016 – a year after Redmayne won an Oscar for The Theory of Everything. "A little boy came along and I met him not long ago. He said we have met before. I said, 'Oh really, we did?' He said, 'Yes sir, I came and auditioned and you didn't give me the part.' So I happened to turn down Eddie Redmayne's first job."
5. He also auditioned to play Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, a role which ultimately went to Martin Freeman.
As Redmayne recalled on The Graham Norton Show, the voice he adopted for the audition was, well, definitely a choice.
6. He used to be L.A. roommates with fellow British actors Andrew Garfield, Jamie Dornan, and Tom Sturridge.
"We were staying on friends' agents' floors, and renting places together," Redmayne recalled a few years ago. "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."
7. He regularly rides the London tube and New York City subway.
Responding to newspaper stories which expressed surprise that he still uses public transport, Redmayne said in 2016: "How else do you get around in London? I've always traveled on the Tube and I love the Tube, so it felt a bit odd."
And here's some photographic evidence.
8. He appreciates why he was criticized for playing a trans character in 2015's The Danish Girl.
Discussing the controversy, Redmayne told GQ in 2018: "Just before our film came out, Caitlyn Jenner had been on the front of Vanity Fair. Laverne Cox was on the cover of Time magazine. And it felt, perhaps, that it was time for trans people to be telling their stories."
He continued: "There was a certain amount of backlash, which I felt from that — which I understood and sort of agreed with," he continued. "I sort of committed to [the role] quite a long time beforehand. But, yeah. It's a complicated experience because I learned a lot and I met extraordinary people, and I still haven't necessarily reconciled whether it was the right thing to do."
9. A theater fan once mistook him for Ben Whishaw.
"I once, when I was younger, was outside a theater, and this woman came up. I had been doing a play at the time, and she started saying how she really loved the play, and she thought the performance was great," Redmayne recalled in a Buzzfeed interview. "I was very flattered, and then halfway through, she said, “I’ve never seen a Hamlet like it.” I wasn’t playing Hamlet. Ben Whishaw was playing Hamlet at the time, who happens to be one of my favorite actors, but she was so far down it that I didn’t want to tell her I wasn’t Ben Whishaw. So I took Ben’s praise and ran and hid."
10. He's been known to offer financial assistance to up-and-coming actors.
Explaining why, he told GQ magazine: “The greatest privilege that I had was that my parents lived in London. So when I was out of university and out of work for a year, working in a pub, I didn’t pay rent. And I get letters from people trying to go to drama school and needing to pay their rent. And so that’s something I occasionally do. It’s impossibly expensive to live in London.”
What a gentleman.
Do you have a favorite Eddie Redmayne performance?