The New Elizabethan: Eddie Redmayne

By Peter McQuaid

image Eddie Redmayne, above, channels Mary Poppins at the Getty Museum, Los Angeles.

At the tender age of 25, Eddie Redmayne is becoming well acquainted with Elizabeth I. His first turn with the Virgin Queen was in 2005 in the television movie starring Helen Mirren. And this fall he took on the hapless role of a disgruntled Roman Catholic who attempts to assassinate the inimitable Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth: The Golden Age.

Later this spring, he plays William Stafford, foster father to a toddler-aged Elizabeth who is briefly left abandoned after the execution of her mother, Anne Boleyn, in The Other Boleyn Girl.

In the novel of the same name, upon which the movie is based, Stafford “is this dashing aristocratic icon of sexuality,” says Redmayne. “People are already saying, ‘Why did you cast a 12-year-old who looks slightly like a woman?'” Redmayne flashes a self-mocking smile-in all honesty, he does look young enough to be carded, and he did once play Viola in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. “We’ll see how it all turns out.”

If past performances are any indication, “it” will turn out fine. One of Redmayne’s first forays into theater, in 2004, won him the Best Newcomer Award from London’s Critic’s Circle and landed him an agent at CAA. Since then, he’s gotten raves for his film work, particularly for his wrenching performances in The Good Shepherd and Savage Grace.

Sitting at a Melrose Avenue coffeehouse, Redmayne reflects on what has been, by any standards, a very good year. “The people I’m getting to work with, the projects I’m getting to work on. It’s just so far from what you ever dare imagine.”

Photo by Darcy Hemley.

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