Saturday 7 December 2019

Eddie Redmayne dazzles again with transformational role

Eddie Redmayne has starred in films, on TV and in the theatre during his dazzling career
Eddie Redmayne has starred in films, on TV and in the theatre during his dazzling career

Eddie Redmayne's second consecutive Bafta nomination for Best Actor follows a dazzling rise to stardom.

The London-born actor's career crescendoed last year when he won an Oscar, Bafta, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory Of Everything.

But five years before this latest nomination for his portrayal of transgender pioneer Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl, he lost out on a Bafta Rising Star award to Kidulthood star Adam Deacon.

Redmayne, who turned 34 on January 6, first started getting noticed when he played writer and filmmaker Colin Clark in My Week With Marilyn in 2011.

Further success followed in the BBC's adaptation of Sebastian Faulks's World War One novel Birdsong while mainstream Hollywood success came along when he played romantic revolutionary Marius in the film version of Les Miserables.

But it was his performance in The Theory Of Everything and his portrayal of a great mind gradually betrayed by a failing body that propelled him to superstardom.

Now it is his performance as Elbe, a transgender woman who was one of the first recipients of sex reassignment surgery, that has turned the critics' heads.

Redmayne, who previously revealed he dressed as Lili on the streets of Copenhagen between filming, said on the Graham Norton Show he wanted to be "an ally" instead of "talking for" for the transgender community.

And if he wins this Bafta, Redmayne would only be the second actor ever to win the category for two consecutive years after Colin Firth won in 2009 for A Single Man and again in 2010 for The King's Speech.

But despite his success, fame has not gone to his head, as he regularly pokes fun at himself.

During last year's Bafta speech he joked about an earlier appearance at the awards when a bout of food poisoning led him to "redecorate the corridor of the Royal Opera House in an incredibly unfortunate fashion".

The humble star, who is expecting his first child with his wife Hannah, became a Motor Neurone Disease patron, after portraying Hawking's decline with the illness.

His next role is the protagonist Newt Scamander in J K Rowling's highly-anticipated Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them later this year. He has joked he would have rather played a Weasley - one of the all ginger family in the Harry Potter books.

Redmayne has been named GQ Magazine's best-dressed man 2016 for the second year running and modelled for Burberry in 2008 and 2012.

He was in the same year as Prince William at Eton College.

The closest he has come to scandal is getting entangled in the debate about the dominance of privately-educated actors, but even then Etonian Redmayne emerged with his dignity intact.

Asked about it, he said: "I think there always should be a debate about where actors are coming from, that diversity is represented. Our job as actors is to tell stories and everyone should be represented.

"As far as a public school is concerned I've had a lucky upbringing, and I had a fantastic drama teacher. He's the reason I became an actor and I attribute it to a particular teacher as supposed to a school or education."

PA Media

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