Monday, October 31, 2016

Eddie in Rhapsody Magazine 2016 November - This Charming Man

Story by Lizzy Goodman • Photography by Jason Bell • For United Airlines’ Rhapsody Magazine (excerpts)

Calling from his house in the British countryside, Redmayne speaks with solemnity about
the duty he feels to get it right. “When you’re given the opportunity to play someone 
as amazing as Stephen or Lili, the pressure makes you really buckle down,” he says. 

Redmayne brought the same reverence to his role as Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts, 
though, of course, playing a socially awkward, stealthily rebellious wizard toting a tattered 
suitcase filled with magical creatures presented a new and different challenge. “The first time 
Newt is introduced in the script, J.K. Rowling had written in the stage directions that he has 
a Buster Keaton–esque quality to his walk,” Redmayne recalls. “And I was like, Oh my god, 
what a thing to write! Now I have to go and work out what that is!”

For Redmayne’s first meeting with director David Yates, the actor arrived looking the part —
unbeknownst to him. “I came with my briefcase—this little case where I keep my research and 
my script to whatever I’m doing,” he explains. “David started to tell me the story, and then 
revealed that Newt had this case in which he kept these creatures. So I slightly embarrassingly 
pushed my case under the chair to make it not look like I had come prepared with my own props.”

“I really do think J.K. Rowling is a genius. She creates this world that is so real and 
has such an intricacy and delicacy and authenticity to it. There are these magical, 
extraordinary elements to it, but it’s about trying to ground it in something truthful.”

“There was this amazing shop called Davenports—the kind of shop where real magicians 
buy their tricks, the sort of place where you could buy the equipment to saw someone in half,”
he says gleefully. “It had a very Potter vibe, actually—it was in this slightly grotty subway 
beneath Charing Cross station in London.” When he was 7 or 8 years old, little Redmayne 
would just hang out there, riveted. “When I got cast in this film, my grandma was like, 
‘I always knew you could play a wizard,’” he says. “She was thrilled.”

“I hope he doesn’t mind me saying this, but he’s an unusual-looking man,” Yates says. 
“He’s actually very beautiful, but not in a traditional way, so the camera really loves him.”

“He truly is a gentleman,” says Katherine Waterston, his Fantastic Beasts co-star. “But being polite 
doesn’t really get you very far in this world. You’re not going to win an Oscar because you write a 
thank-you note.” What Redmayne offers, she says, is more than “fancy English boarding school” 
gentility. “His kindness is not something he simply practices—it is him. That’s what’s so disarming 
about it. It’s not that we never meet a gentleman or we’re never around polite people; it’s just how 
genuine it is and how true it is, how soulful he is. It’s almost skimming the surface to call him polite.”

That radiant goodness allows Redmayne to more deeply explore “the edges” of people, as he puts it, in his work. “I’m a relatively straightforward human being,” he says, joking that he’s nowhere near as complex as the people 
he plays. “But I love being able to investigate those parts of characters that you don’t relate to at all, that you 
have to find a way to. As an actor, you’re given the freedom to explore those things in a safe environment.”

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