Eddie Redmayne has been a relatively frequent visitor to Canada for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and now the star, who was in town for the premiere of the Netflix movie The Good Nurse, admitted that he’s happy to be at the festival with a film that he "loves," because that hasn’t always been the case.
“I have been to Toronto with five films, some of them weren’t very good,” the actor admitted during a TIFF event called In Conversation With... Eddie Redmayne. “You win some and you lose some, and there are different films for different audiences.”
While the actor didn’t reveal exactly which films he thought were better than others, later in the discussion he did identify one thing he would have liked to see tackled differently in The Danish Girl specifically.
“I found many elements of it hard," Redmayne said. “The thing that I found most hard was that there weren't enough scenes of Lili being Lili.”
“[It] was all about her transition to becoming Lili, but there were never enough, I didn't think, in which she had expressed her true joy and brilliance, and eccentricity that was sort of there. I mean, there are many things which I would do differently.”
Drunken acting start with movie, theatre legend
Eddie Redmayne also took the time during the TIFF conversation to share the details of his “origin story,” which started with a part he got as a child to work with director Sam Mendes on Oliver at The London Palladium, with Jonathan Pryce playing Fagin, which launched his pursuit of acting.
When he was at university, it was the 400th anniversary of Twelfth Night, originally commissioned by the Middle Temple Hall in London. Hundreds of years later, they commissioned the Globe Theatre to put on a commemorative all-male production, and they were looking for a young actor to play Viola. Redmayne ended up auditioning for Mark Rylance, which comedically ended with him auditioning for the legendary actor/playwright/director drunk.
“I was in a pub in Notting Hill and I got a call saying, 'will you come now for a last audition'?” Redmayne revealed. “I was three quarters the way through a bottle of wine and I arrived to this audition with the great Mark Rylance…and we started playing a scene, and I was drunk,...but then he took the book out of my hand and suddenly I was having to sort of improvise Shakespeare.”
“Looking back on it, it was probably one of the more terrifying moments of my life… I was lucky enough in that moment to get cast in that, and I will always see it as my training… I was working with people who had been doing it for years and yet...being on stage, we've all got to help each other."
'I was so used to seeing the glamour of actors'
While Eddie Redmayne then went on to work in iconic films like The Theory of Everything, Les Misérables and The Trial of the Chicago 7, to name a few, he continued to learn for the processes that his fellow co-stars took to develop their characters, specifically highlighting Cate Blanchett and Michelle Williams.
“We were doing a sequel to Elizabeth and she had been nominated for an Oscar, and stunning in that first Elizabeth movie, and I'd come onto set and I would see her there with her earphones in, just sort of gently saying these words in her accent,” Redmayne explained.
“I was so used to seeing the glamour of actors turning up on red carpets and someone who is as extraordinary as her, seeing that craft never ending, was a real key.”
“I worked on a film called My Week With Marilyn and Michelle Williams, when she was playing Marilyn Monroe,...she wanted to approach it in the way that Marilyn had approached it, which was to surround yourself with practitioners,” Redmayne added. “So she had a voice coach, she had a movement coach.”
“It was then when Theory of Everything came around and I was cast in that and our wonderful director James Marsh said to me,...‘by the way this kind of lives or dies in your work,’... I looked to Michelle's process then and went, 'I think I need a voice coach and I definitely need someone to help me with movement.'”
'I hadn’t been stretching myself'
Now, Eddie Redmayne is starring alongside Jessica Chastain in The Good Nurse, a true crime thriller where Redmayne plays Charlie, based on the real-life killer who has been confirmed to be responsible for the murder for 29 patients in U.S. hospitals, but the actual number is believed to be in the hundreds.
After spending years playing Newt in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, Redmayne indicated that his experience on The Good Nurse gave him the sense that he was “stuck in his way.”
“I hadn’t been stretching myself, I think,...but when I started working with [The Good Nurse director Tobias Lindholm] I found a brother really, someone whose outlook on the way he worked - he was a consummate with script, he was a consummate with process,” Redmayne said. “I came off The Good Nurse and I knew I was going to be doing Cabaret, and I felt like The Good Nurse, working with Jessica and Tobias, had shifted something in me, it made me realize that perhaps I had gotten stuck in my way.”
“So I went to clown school…It was a trial by fire,...everyone getting up was being scrutinized, but you're learning from other people's mistakes and I just wanted to free myself again, a bit.”