I have added a fun set of portraits taken earlier this year of Eddie and Hannah at the Pre-Bafta Party. A giant thank you to Carol for sharing these pictures with us!
– Eddie Redmayne Web > Outtakes > 2015 > 032
Actor Eddie Redmayne still talks to his school drama teacher when he needs tips ahead of a movie role.
The 33-year-old star has taken Hollywood by storm, winning this year’s (15) best actor Oscar for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. He’s tipped to get a nod at next year’s (16) ceremony too thanks to his portrayal of transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl, which received rave reviews at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals.
Now Eddie has revealed one of the secrets of his success.
“I had the greatest drama teacher I could ever have wished for in Simon Dormandy,” he told Britain’s Hello! magazine. “He inspired me to continue acting and I wore him so much. We will stay in touch. Over the years I’ve continued to seek out his advice and work with him if I think I could use some feedback when I’m preparing for a role.”
While many stars dream of seeing their name in lights from a young age, that wasn’t the case for Eddie. He didn’t even consider a career in movie making when he was growing up, even though he liked pretending to be different characters. It was when he appeared in a production of Cabaret at the Edinburgh Festival when he was in his late teens that things clicked into place.
“The odd thing about this profession is that you still feel like a kid play-acting. There’s this sense of make-believe and wonder to it that stays with you,” he said. “Making movies is a bit like being on a summer holiday where you meet people, become friends and then perhaps go away and never meet again.”
One of the things the star loves most about his job is working with other talent, with Eddie singling out his The Danish Girl co-star Alicia Vikander for praise. During her audition she made director Tom Hooper weep because he was so moved, something which floored Eddie.
Vogue magazine did a feature on The Danish Girl for their October issue … and there are some beautiful portraits of Eddie & Alicia. Plus it is a beautiful article where Vogue speaks with Eddie, Jan Sewell (the makeup artist for the film), Tom Hooper and more.
In Tom Hooper’s highly anticipated The Danish Girl, Eddie Redmayne stars opposite Alicia Vikander as the artist turned transgender pioneer Lili Elbe.
The transformation starts with changes in the skin tone, soft pink on the upper cheeks, lipstick. The nose is a small challenge, but the peachy coloring is helpful, and the freckles are, too. Casual observers might see overpainting, or illusionism, or embellishment. To both the artist and the subject, though, the work is more akin to sculpture by relief: a technique of wearing away the well-known features of the male face to reveal the contours of a female countenance beneath.
It’s early Tuesday afternoon at London’s Elstree Studios, and, in a little dressing room just off the soundstage, Jan Sewell, a makeup artist with a chic white bob, is putting the final touches on Eddie Redmayne’s face. Redmayne and Sewell have worked together closely over the past few years—she exacted the slow, progressive changes that advanced Stephen Hawking’s ALS in The Theory of Everything, which earned Redmayne his first Academy, BAFTA, SAG, and Golden Globe awards this year—and they’ve developed what she calls “a complete shorthand.” Is the person who emerges from that wig too self-aware? Does this color distract from a delicate expression? The goal is to create a body that, working between the actual and the imagined, joins the actor’s form to a physique the character would know to be her own.
A few days earlier, in London, Redmayne finished shooting his last scenes for The Danish Girl, based on the 2000 historical novel by David Ebershoff. The movie was directed by Tom Hooper (Les Misérables, The King’s Speech), and it follows the real-life transition of Lili Elbe, born as Einar Wegener in late–nineteenth century Denmark, as she undergoes some of the very first sex-reassignment surgeries. The stages of Lili’s transformation, though, were more than a performance alone could convey, so Sewell helped define them, with a light touch. “If I put a lot of makeup on, he would look like a man with makeup,” she says. “I reshaped his mouth by taking away the corners and giving him more of a feminine pout.”
Now, in the makeup room, Sewell is brushing out a bold red wig. Many transgender women have said they experienced a period of hyperfeminization when they first appeared publicly as female—“It’s your first moment to express yourself,” Redmayne says—and Sewell decided that Lili would wear the loud wig at first. (Later, as the character settles into womanhood, Redmayne’s wigs grow more naturalistic.) Now he wears a tomato-red lip, though that, too, will be subdued as Lili finds herself.
“Can I drink, Jan? Can I have a coffee?” Redmayne asks, staring at his reflection. He looks vacant and empty: This body-between-bodies is not his, and he has not yet entered into character.
“Yes, I’ll redo the lips, don’t worry—we can’t have you fainting.” She smiles wryly, then steps back for a moment, as if scrutinizing a canvas. Fussily, she works over the edges of the wig. “Just a little powder, and then you’re good.”
Ebershoff’s novel concerns art as much as gender: Both Einar and his wife, Gerda (Alicia Vikander), were accomplished painters. He had found early success with his haunting, refined landscapes, and she, a portraitist, had studied under him at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Near the start of the movie, we see them working in their studio, she on her big, vivacious canvases and he on his small, controlled ones. Hurrying to finish a portrait of a young woman, Gerda asks Einar to pose as her female subject.
“Will you try on the stockings and shoes?”
“You will not tell anyone about this.”
The experience is, for Einar, more than a bizarre artistic task. He begins dressing as a woman often: first apparently in the spirit of creative support (Gerda’s portraits of Lili are her first great commercial success, allowing the couple to move to Paris) and later for self-realization. “What I read was an incredibly passionate love story about two artists,” Redmayne says; Vikander describes the film as “a love story about learning to love yourself.”
In France, Gerda is celebrated as a fashionable Art Nouveau painter. (In real life, she contributed work to early issues of Vogue.) Lili, now living as herself, abandons painting. In the film, she begins chastely courting a young man (played by Ben Whishaw); Gerda, for her part, grows close to one of Einar’s friends (Matthias Schoenaerts). Trying to realize her female body, Lili undergoes risky constructive surgeries without antibiotics. “She talks about her transition in terms of these two versions of herself—she needed to find a language at the time to say what it felt like,” Hooper says. In real life, Lili died, in her late 40s, of complications from her final operation.
Ebershoff, the author of two other acclaimed historical novels, is vice president and executive editor at Random House; he stumbled on Lili’s story while paging through a book on gender theory. “I remember thinking, Wait a minute—Lili Elbe is a pioneer, but I’ve never heard of her,” he says. “She was a woman who did something profoundly courageous and important, and yet when I first encountered her name, history had mostly forgotten her.”Continue Reading
People.com spoke to Eddie at the Toronto Film Festival about the opportunity to play Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl.
In last year’s The Theory of Everything, Eddie Redmayne transformed into a young Stephen Hawking, depicting the cosmologist’s debilitating battle with ALS. His latest role called for an even more dramatic departure: a transgender woman.
Based on a true story, The Danish Girl finds the Oscar winner playing Lili Elbe, a trans woman who was one of the first to undergo sexual reassignment surgery. (Swedish star Alicia Vikander plays Gerda Wegener, Elbe’s wife who supported her through the transition.)
“There’s a certain fear that goes into playing any character, but really it felt like an extraordinary privilege [playing Lili]. She is an astounding woman,” the actor told reporters Saturday at the movie’s Toronto International Film Festival premiere. “The notion of transitioning and having confirmation surgery could almost lead to death. But her courage, her will to live a life true to herself, she felt that was more valuable.”
Redmayne, 33, met with trans women of all ages to prepare for the role and says the more research he did, the more one sentiment stuck out to him.
“What I found astounding, in relation to Lili’s story, is that almost 100 years on – I know there is a conversation going on at the moment, and that is wonderful – but there is still so much progress that needs to happen,” he said.
“It’s amazing, this conversation, and that the world is becoming educated. But I think there’s still a long way to go,” Redmayne added, noting the discrimination against and high suicide rate among the trans community.
As for Vikander, 26, she had an interesting tie to the LGBT community, thanks to her father.
“My dad, actually, he’s a psychiatrist and had worked with a lot of transgender people, so the support and ideas I got from him was incredible,” she told reporters of tackling the role.
And Redmayne says the film opened his eyes in more ways than one.
“I suppose that I had been incredibly ignorant beforehand, and I don’t … it never occurred to me that gender is fluid. There is a sort of spectrum,” he said. “The idea of the masculine and the feminine: Like, what is masculine? Is sport masculine? Is arty things feminine? I think it’s kind of antiquated, the notion of that now. There’s a spectrum, and we all fit on it somewhere.”
At the premiere of The Danish Girl the press talks to Eddie about the Oscar buzz surrounding his new film.
His part is right around 1:05!
So go see it!
Eddie shared with USA Today about how excited he is to be working on Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.
While Eddie Redmayne is one of the biggest names in town at the Toronto International Film Festival with The Danish Girl, the Oscar winner’s also excited about getting back to the British set of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, J.K. Rowling’s cinematic continuation of her Harry Potter series arriving in theaters Nov. 18, 2016.
We naturally asked him about it and he naturally clammed up about his role as ace magizoologist — and Hogwarts alum — Newt Scamander in the story, which takes place 70 years before Harry, Ron and Hermione came to school for the first time. (Maybe he’s worried about the Dementors. We get that, Eddie.)
“Ooooooooh, Beasts. I want to disclose everything but I literally cannot tell you anything. All I can say is that I’m having the most wonderful time and J.K Rowling has written something utterly wonderful.”
So far Redmayne’s only met her once and, yep, she’s wonderful:
“We only had an hour before she was going away and we just talked character quite intensively. Her knowledge of my character’s backstory and the intricacies of it all were really inspiring.”
The actor did admit that he has some youthful zeal in working in this magical world, though like when he starred in the Les Miserables movie, it’s a complicated thing when it’s a project that means a lot to you:
“I had been to see Les Mis when I was a kid and I wanted to be Gavroche, and my parents were like, ‘You must have had so much fun making Les Mis!’ You know what, when you care about something so much when you’re doing it, you’re always trying to do it better. You’ve only got that day and when the camera’s rolling, and that scene’s done. So your mind’s always going: ‘How do I do it better, how do I do it better…’ And as a consequence, enjoyment is another question. I’m definitely having fun, but the thing with J.K. Rowling is I loved those books and I loved those films, and now there’s the sense of I don’t want to be the guy who lets everybody down.”
Variety featured Eddie & Alicia on the cover of their magazine recently and I have added some of the images from the photoshoot to the gallery.
– Eddie Redmayne Web > Outtakes > 2015 > 027
The Toronto Film Festival is officially underway and last night was the screening of Eddie’s film The Danish Girl. A giant thank you to Claudia for sharing some of these pics with us!
Yesterday Eddie was in Venice supporting his film The Danish Girl at the Venice Film Festival. Hannah attended the premiere with him and both looked fabulous! A giant thank you to Claudia & Lindsey for sharing some of these pics with us!
Here is a video clip showing some of the Danish Girl press conference from the Venice Film Festival yesterday!