Eddie is featured in this month’s Interview Magazine in an article in which he answers some very funny and interesting questions from Christopher Bailey (the creative director of the new Burberry campaign in which Eddie stars).
CHRISTOPHER BAILEY: Are you in London?
EDDIE REDMAYNE: I’m in London. I just got back this morning from a holiday with my family in South Africa. We had the most amazing time. We hadn’t been on a family holiday in probably 12 years.
CB: Oh, my goodness!
ER: And I’ve got two brothers–one elder and one younger–and literally since my little bro was probably about 8, we haven’t been away together. Anyway, I’m in London for only about a week and a half, because I’m going to Sundance, where a couple of films I did last year are sort of premiering.
CB: Which ones? Savage Grace and The Other Boleyn Girl?
ER: Savage Grace and one called Yellow Handkerchief, in which I play an adopted Native American, of all things. I think it’s going to be fun because apparently you get to ski as well.
CB: Is Tara [Hacking, Redmayne’s girlfriend] going with you?
ER: Tara’s not going with me, frustratingly. She has a proper job.
CB: She wasn’t with you on vacation, was she?
ER: No she wasn’t–which is bizarre because she’s South African.
CB: Where was she–in London?
ER: She and a whole group of my friends went to Morocco for the New Year.
CB: Where did they go?
ER: They went to Marrakech.
CB: I went there in the summer, and it’s an amazing place. I mean, it’s surreal.
ER: In every single photo I’ve seen, there’s the most absurd kind of colorful thing. Were you on holiday there, or were you working?
CB: I was there for two or three days on holiday, and it was kind of everything you hope it’s gonna be.
ER: It’s not becoming too touristy? Because I know that it’s being EasyJetted.
CB: You kind of feel that some parts of it have been developed for tourism. But I think you definitely still feel the natural culture of Morocco. But I want you to tell me about Savage Grace: Is that the one where you play Julianne Moore’s gay son?
CB: And is that the one with Hugh?
ER: That is the one with Hugh Dancy.
CB: And you snog the Dancy?
ER: I get to snog the Dancy. [Bailey laughs] The last time I read Interview magazine, there was an interview with Hugh by a friend of ours called Toby Jones, a wonderful actor, in which the two of them mocked my horse riding in the most barbaric way, and I’ve been angry ever since.
CB: [laughs] So now we can get back at the Dancy!
ER: We did this Helen Mirren Elizabeth I movie together.
CB: Yes. I remember, because I switched on the TV at one point–it was about a year or two years ago–and there was Hugh with his hand up Helen Mirren’s dress, [laughs]
ER: I had auditioned to play his sidekick in that film–the Earl of Southampton, who was sort of pauncy, indulgent, and who kind of had a crush on the Earl of Essex. This thing involved me horse riding, which I’d been asked in the audition whether I could do. And it is a truth, universally acknowledged, that as an actor, if you’re asked if you can horse ride, you say yes. But then cut to a month later, on the set in Lithuania, and there I am, on a horse, having not even sat on a horse since I was about 4, blazing into things–I nearly killed myself and approximately 43 Lithuanian extras. And since then I’ve become known as “The Liar.” What’s more embarrassing, with The Other Boleyn Girl, is that I’m basically becoming typecast as sort of a Tudor horseman, [laughs]
CB: You’re riding again in The Other Boleyn Girl?
ER: Yeah. But at the audition for The Other Boleyn Girl, they were like, “So Eddie, one last thing: How’s your horse riding?” And I said, “Well, there’s a little story I should probably tell you.” [Bailey laughs] And so they sent me off
on a two-month training camp, and I literally learned to horse ride. I basically did the whole thing in order to suppress all my doubters.
CB: So now you’re able to horse ride professionally?
ER: Well, I haven’t seen the film yet, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
CB: [laughs] Well, you know I’m going to be really looking out for it!
ER: But back to Savage Grace.
CB: When’s it going to be out?
ER: In the States in May and the U.K. in March. 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, and they have this sort of quite extraordinary menage a trois moment in the film.
CB: You and Julianne and Hugh?
ER: Julianne, Hugh, and I. And it was one of the more bizarre moments–with me, this sensationally beautiful sort of Hollywood actress, and Dancy.
CB: I thought you were going to say, “the sensationally beautiful Hugh Dancy.” [laughs] What was Julianne like to work with?
ER: She’s sensational. And what’s interesting about the past year or two is I’ve been lucky to work with phenomenal actors.
CB: You worked with Forest Whitaker in the upcoming Powder Blue, didn’t you? What’s different about these actors in terms of their craft?
ER: Julianne is so instinctive and natural. She didn’t rehearse a huge amount. It would just kind of come out of nowhere. William Hurt, whom I worked with on Yellow Handkerchief, couldn’t have been more antithetical in some ways. He loves rehearsal.
CB: I know you love theater as well as movies. Do you have more of an affinity for one?
ER: When I started acting professionally, it was always theater. I’m so ignorant about film, but I’m getting slightly better–after having been chastised by many co-stars. [Bailey laughs] It’s been a massive learning curve. When I started off doing film, I did some bad work that I wasn’t happy with. But you just kind of have to grow with it and learn from it. While we were shooting The Other Boleyn Girl, Scarlett Johansson basically discovered how few movies I’d seen, because whenever she’d ask if I’d seen a film, like GoodFellas, the answer was no. She compiled a whole list of the films I should watch.
CB: But theater has remained your passion.
ER: That’s what I do. And that’s what I fill my life with. I go to the theater two or three times a week when I’m in London, and Tara loves going too. Whereas I feel guilty going to the cinema in the middle of the afternoon.
CB: Yeah, there’s something really decadent about it.
ER: Exactly. But I love it when I do it. For some reason, when I’m in Los Angeles, I feel free to go to movies between meetings–because that’s what my world is about, I have no problem with it there. But, you know, my brothers and my dad are working in banks and doing proper jobs, and they’re like, “Darling, what did you do today?”
CB: “I went to the movies!” [laughs]
CB: Do you like L.A.?
ER: It’s weird as a Brit going there. It’s so different from the way the British film industry works. It’s a massive machine, you know? I’ve always been treated brilliantly there and had a wonderful time, but I’ve always found it kind of daunting until this last time.
CB: What were you doing in L.A. this last time?
ER: I was working with Forest Whitaker and Jessica Biel on Powder Blue. I was actually living out there for three months. I think that was leading up to when we shot the campaign for Burberry.
CB: Right, right.
ER: One of the perks of my job–and I imagine your job–is being able to travel under interesting circumstances.
CB: I just think we’re very lucky. I was saying this to a friend over Christmas–that we don’t realize how lucky we are, and we take it for granted sometimes that we have these opportunities to discover these new places and actually really get into the culture and the life. As opposed to just kind of flying in for a little holiday and seeing the facade and the superficial side of the place.
ER: I completely agree. Earlier last year I worked in New Orleans on Yellow Handkerchief, and that was incredible.
CB: I’ve never been there.
ER: It was the most phenomenal city, I’ve got to say. What was incredible is that you’re working with a cast–or crew, and a lot of cast–who are from there. With acting, not only are you living in a cool city and you’re getting to see that, but you’ve also got a load of people from there who can sort of introduce you and for a moment are sort of quasi-family.
CB: By the way, I wanted to ask you: Are you a natural cook?
ER: Absolutely, positively, under no circumstances. Although I do make a mean bread sauce.
CB: That’s pretty impressive.
ER: And I make a huge ham at Christmas.
CB: Back to movies. It must be really intense when you’re making a film. I know we talked about this a few weeks ago when we saw each other, but it’s kind of surreal when you’re shooting a film because you’re not shooting it in sequence, so you never feel the film kind of developing and growing. But it must be weird when you’re on a set for several weeks, or several months even. You must become this little, tight nucleus because you’re probably working and eating together 24 hours a day.
ER: In a funny sort of way, it was a similar thing when we shot the Burberry campaign–other than the fact that it was a couple of days. You know what I mean?
CB: Yeah, you’re just literally together the whole time.
ER: And it tends to be, like, really interesting people from different walks of life who do different things. Actually, I get off on that, you know? CB: Yeah, that sense of camaraderie–it’s really beautiful.
ER: But what you have to accept with film, and what is always weird, is that you feel these people are becoming your best mates.
ER: And then, of course, you suddenly realize that they actually live on the other side of the world, so it’s impossible to retain those friendships. And also because you are traveling so much. The ones that you do retain–
CB: Become very integral to your life.
ER: Exactly. I see a lot of my friends from New York and L.A. substantially more than my friends in London.
CB: [laughs] I’m the same. Now, do you have plans to make any British films?
ER: It’s been a difficult time, actually, with the writers’ strike and stuff, so nothing that I want to really talk about, because everything is up in the air. To be honest, one of my major priorities this year is to try and get back onstage.
CB: In London? Or maybe in the U.S.?
ER: I would love to do both. But the reality is that it’s virtually impossible as an English actor to work on Broadway until you’re sort of a massive name, or you can arrange an Actors’ Equity exchange thing. So it would probably be in London. But it’s been an idea that I’ve been having for a while.
ER: Because you do use different muscles in theater than in the movies. It’s time for me to check that those muscles are still functioning. And if they’re not, then, “Mayday!”