Evening wear inspiration from the talented Mr. Redmayne.
“Last thing in the audition, as I was walking out,” says Eddie Redmayne, “the director, Tom Hooper, said, ‘Eddie, have you ever been on a horse?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ “Cut to Lithuania, two weeks later, a huge Elizabethan street, Helen Mirren at the end of it on a balcony, in a huge Elizabethan dress, Tom, cameras, Jeremy Irons, rain machines, 50 Lithuanian extras, spurs attached to my feet, and I’m thinking, ‘At what point do I tell them that I have never, ever ridden a horse?’
“It was then that I realised a big part of the cliché of actors lying in auditions, is that you should probably try to do the thing you said you can do before filming starts. “Anyway, I nearly killed people as the horse galloped off at a hundred miles an hour after I gave it the slightest nudge. Tom came out with his megaphone and shouted, ‘You’re a fucking liar, Redmayne!”
That was in 2005, making the mini series Elizabeth I, and Redmayne was very possibly scuppering a promising career during his first proper on-screen part. Fast-forward seven years, through a dozen movies, award-winning turns on the New York and London stages, and more sweeping, historical mini series for US and UK TV, and the 30-year-old Londoner is facing the truth: that after a decade quietly becoming an actor of renown, he is on the cusp of mainstream fame and success.
It must be true. Google ranks him the sixth-most famous Eddie on the internet. “Ha ha!” he says, running through namesakes in his head. “Izzard, that guy from Pearl Jam...” That guy, Eddie Vedder, is seventh. (The ranking is Murphy, Stobart, Izzard, Murphy Dead – the web gone rogue – Marsan and Redmayne.)
Many of those online notices stem from his fans, the ‘Redmayniacs’. “That phrase,” he says, “was coined by a journalist in relation to the fact that Benedict Cumberbatch had a group of fans called ‘Cumberbitches’.”
You can count on the fingers of one hand the British actors actively working in top-level theatre, TV and cinema. There is Cumberbatch, Dominic West, Michael Sheen, and there is Eddie Redmayne.
In January this year, you could have left the Donmar Warehouse theatre after seeing Redmayne’s acclaimed Richard II to catch a late night showing of the film My Week With Marilyn, in which he was totally charming as a film-company greenhorn with the enviable task of handholding, and skinnydipping with, Michelle Williams as Miss Monroe. You could then have spent Sunday nights watching in his excellent star turn in the BBC adaptation of the Sebastian Faulks novel, Birdsong.
Also at that time, he was the male face of Burberry’s spring-summer 2012 campaign – his second season with the British fashion house.
“I really enjoyed working with [Burberry chief creative officer] Christopher Bailey. Plus, I was working at the Donmar then, and you don’t get paid much.”
Since then, he's been less visible, making the film adaptation of the musical Les Miserables, directed by Tom Hooper, he of The King’s Speech and the megaphone in Lithuania. The actors were filmed singing live on set, with the orchestration done afterwards; movie musicals are usually made the other way around.
For Redmayne, though, there was another challenge. “There was a moment on set,” he says, “where I looked around and thought, ‘Why don't I grab that flag, knock that guy off that horse, leap onto the horse and gallop off into the sunset.’ I told Tom, and he said, “Right, I am going to make you do that.” The film became a test of my equestrian ‘skills’. I’d worked with a horse trainer for weeks. I have yet to see whether all my horse moments have been cut.”
Les Miserables is released in the UK on 11 January.
Look 1 (above)
(purple cotton velvet jacket, £895; purple cotton velvet trousers, £595; white cotton shirt, £195; black leather brogues, £385, all by Burberry Prorsum.)
(Salt and pepper wool jacket, £715, by Paul Smith at Liberty. Navy and blue printed cotton shirt, £445, by Jil Sander at Liberty)
(Green patterned silk/cotton jacket, £1,980, by Gucci. Black cotton shirt with suede collar, £150 by The Kooples, De Ville Hour Vision BLue watch, £4,500, by Omega)
(Grey wool jacket with velvet lapels, £1,220; grey wool waistcoat, £325; white cotton shirt, £245, black wool trousers, £250: black leather shoes, £330, all by Dolce & Gabbana.)
(Charcoal mohair double-breasted jacket, £1,615; purple mohair waistcoat, £715; grey cotton shirt, £335, all by Prada.)
(Black wool jacket, £1,650; black cotton shirt with horsehair embroidery, £2,000, both by Dior Homme.)
(Black velvet spotted jacket, £1,295; black cotton spotted shirt, both by Alexander McQueen)
(Black nylon jacket, £810; white cotton shirt with peach detail, £200, both by Viktor & Rolf Monsieur. Grey wool herringbone trousers, £595, by Burberry Prorsum. Green leather shoes, £385, by Mr Hare, De Ville Hour Vision Blue watch, £4,500, by Omega)
Photography by Tom Craig
Fashion by Catherine Hayward
Words by Paul Wilson