A DATE WITH EDDIE
He’s won the Oscar as a scientist and he will try again playing the first transgender in history, after switching to the Harry Potter saga. Report of a dinner in London with actor Eddie Redmayne, where Grazia’s journalist has also met his friends and wife Hannah. And has discovered a gentleman ready to describe himself “a novice husband”.
It doesn’t matter how many actors, pop stars, ministers you’ve already interviewed: when you meet an Academy Award winner, and then you go to dinner with him, there’s a lot of excitement. And even more when you know he will star in the next film from the Harry Potter saga.
When you’re standing in front of Eddie Redmayne though, you’re not the one blushing, shaking and playing with the buttons on your jacket: it’s him.
Eddie’s like that: incredibly true and greatly skilled to play the roles he’s given (his performance in The Theory of Everything, where he plays the cosmologist Stephen Hawking, has shocked even the scientist), but in reality he looks very sensitive, almost unprotected.
I meet him in London, at the dinner Omega has dedicated to him: he’s the new ambassador of the famous brand of Swiss watches.
Next to colleagues like George Clooney and Nicole Kidman he doesn’t make a bad impression at all.
He arrives with his wife, Hannah. They’ve been friends for over 10 years, but they married 6 months ago. She has her right arm plastered. The reason? Very chic: she’s fallen off a horse. I ask her how she managed to wear that tight Alexander McQueen dress: “Simple: sleeves are stretchy”.
Eddie Redmayne is very dapper in jacket and trousers. He’s 33, but he looks younger thanks to his perfect features, sharp though gentle, with something delicate.
These features enabled him to face a difficult challenge: he’s been chosen to star in the film The Danish Girl (released at the end of this year), story of the Danish artist Einar Wegener, one of the first men in the 20s to be submitted to an operation to change sex.
At dinner, between a glass of Riesling and the foie gras and the lamb (left almost untouched), he jokes with friend Dan Stevens (the blonde Matthew Crawley of Downton Abbey, who’s just finished filming a thriller with John Travolta and is currently on the set of Beauty and the Beast). Then he turns to me. And I immediately notice that he has a very British humour, but he’s very quiet, a little shy. He looks like he’s unwilling to be the focus of the attention.
How does it feel to be chosen to play the wizard and zoologist Newt Scamander in the new film from the Harry Potter saga Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them?
I’m a big fan of J.K. Rowling. I’ve read all of her books and I’m looking forward to beginning the shooting. I think it’ll be fun.
From now on, you’re the ambassador of Omega watches: how do you manage your time?
I’m always on time. On the contrary, I’m always afraid to be late. The night I won the Oscar, I left the hotel so early that there was no one there: I waited for two hours wandering around Beverly Hills. My dream is a scheduled life. My wife teases me, because working in the cinema means, on the contrary, being flexible. On the set I wake up at 5am and I have a monastic lifestyle. But if I had more time for me, I’d address it to painting and playing the piano, that I love very much.
People say you’re a perfectionist.
On the set it’s like there’s a part of me looking from the outside, judging me. Being so critical to yourself could be a defect.
How do you see yourself in ten years?
I’ve never set great objectives in my life. Even the Oscar has been a shock for me. I only wanted to be an actor and to tell interesting stories. And try to keep my job.
Your life looks like a fairytale: you were raised in Chelsea, one of the richest areas in London, studied at Eton, the most prestigious college, graduated at Cambridge, reached success in cinema and love. Nothing wrong?
I’m lucky and privileged. But in everyone’s life there are ups and downs. Even in mine.
You’re also an icon of elegance (he’s even modelled for Burberry). In your opinion, when can we say a woman has a sense of style?
When the dress doesn’t prevail on the woman, but the woman understands the dress.
We know so much about Eddie Redmayne the actor. And as a husband?
Very romantic. And a beginner: we’ve been married for only six months. But Hannah has been my rock for a long time. When I’m not working, I like to cook for her. I’m not good, but it’s great for her to find everything ready when she comes home (she’s an antiques dealer - editor’s note). When I’m filming, on the contrary, I’m a rather useless husband.
Eddie enjoys his dessert: a very British cheesecake. And after a chat with Dan Stevens and Chiwetel Ejiofor, star of 12 Years a Slave, sit next to him, he approaches his wife. He says to her, with love: “Shall we, my love?”, speaking an English that seems to come from ancient times, like a gentleman.