With The Danish Girl recently in theaters and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them looming on the horizon, I figured we needed to take a good, long, lingering look at Eddie Redmayne’s repertoire. For a guy who has only two dozen acting credits under his belt, over half of them are period pieces. Ranging from the 11th century to the 1970s, let’s enjoy some ginger eye-candy across the ages.
Elizabeth I (2005) – Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton
This miniseries has questionable costuming choices, but the casting is solid, with Helen Mirren playing Queen Elizabeth I and Jeremy Irons as the Earl of Leicester. Eddie plays the young, foppish, and hot-headed Earl of Southampton, who vies for the position of the aging queen’s favorite.
Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) – Thomas Babington
The sequel to Elizabeth (1998) with Cate Blanchett reprising her role as the Virgin Queen, Eddie is cast as Thomas Babington, the eponymous leader of the traitorous Babington Plot to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I. Since there are no spoilers in history, I feel the need to inform you that things don’t turn out well for Thomas.
The Other Boleyn Girl (2008) – William Stafford
We’ve devoted an entire podcast to this feature film based on Phillipa Gregory’s 2001 novel of the same name, but I had completely forgotten that Eddie Redmayne played Mary Boleyn’s second husband, William Stafford. The costuming in this film caused a huge uproar when it debuted in 2008 (and not in a good way), but Eddie has the perfect look of a young Tudor gentleman and with that, I cannot argue.
Tess of the D’Urbervilles (2008) – Angel Clare
This two-part miniseries adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s classic novel has Eddie Redmayne playing the idealistic son of a preacher who falls in love with the ill-fated Tess. Happy endings are hard to come by in this tragic story, but Eddie looks handsome in late-19th-century suits.
Black Death (2010) – Osmund
Eddie Redmayne plays Osmund, a young cleric who finds himself tackling the forces of darkness while the plague decimates England. In the end, he sheds his priesthood and turns into a badass witchfinder after the previous witchfinder Ulric, played by Sean Bean, predictably dies (because, Sean Bean).
The Pillars of the Earth (2010) – Jack Jackson
File this one under “Awesome Flick but Awful Costumes.” I recently mainlined the entire Pillars of the Earth series over the course of 48 hours, and determined three things:
- Eddie Redmayne is weird-hot.
- The costumes are TERRIBLE.
- The show is AMAZING.
Eddie plays Jack Jackson, a talented stone carver with a somewhat mystic origin story. Based on the novel of the same name by Ken Follett, Pillars probably has one of the best ensemble casts I’ve seen in recent memory, featuring Rufus Sewell, Ian McShane, Hayley Atwell, Donald Sutherland, and Matthew Macfadyen. The script is solid, the actors are perfectly cast (I read the book 20 years ago and dammit, every one of the actors looked exactly like how I pictured them), and all of that helps ease the fact that the costumes look like they were lifted from a high school madrigal group’s wardrobe.
My Week With Marilyn (2011) – Colin Clark
My Week With Marilyn focuses on Colin Clark, played by Eddie Redmayne, an aspiring young filmmaker who secures a position as Laurence Olivier’s assistant during the filming of The Prince and the Showgirl (1957). The cast is packed with great talent, with Kenneth Branagh as Olivier (the role he has been roleplaying since the late-’80s), Julia Ormond as Viviene Leigh, Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe, Judi Dench as Dame Sybil Thorndike, and Emma Watson as Clark’s love interest, Lucy the costume girl, as well as appearances by a whole host of “OMG, it’s THAT guy!” actors.
Birdsong (2012) – Stephen Wraysford
In the miniseries adaptation of Sebastian Faulks’ 1993 novel, Eddie plays Stephen, a soldier in WWI who falls in love with a beautiful Frenchwoman, Isabelle (played by Clémence Poésy), and of course tragedy and drama ensue against the backdrop of the Great War.
Les Misérables (2012) – Marius
In this adaptation of the eternally beloved musical by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, Eddie plays the young hero Marius, an idealistic revolutionary who totally ditches the badass Éponine for that annoying blonde soprano falls in love with the beautiful Cosette. I mean, there’s a bunch of other stuff that happens, but that’s basically the gist of the Marius-Éponine-Cosette story arc.
I may have some unresolved baggage relating to a performance of “Les Mis” in the ’90s during a pivotal stage in my psycho-sexual development. But seriously, Marius. Cosette? Really? Ugh.
Theory of Everything (2014) – Stephen Hawking
This film earned Eddie an Oscar, a BAFTA, and a Screen Actors Guild award for best actor. I watched this recently, and I have to say that he does a pretty amazing job transforming into the brilliant physicist Stephen Hawking as his life gets eaten away by Lou Gehrig’s Disease. However, watching it also lead me to believe that there was no way in hell Eddie couldn’t have walked away with all three major acting awards, because it’s about as blatantly Academy Award/BAFTA/SAG-baiting as you can get. The script was called out a few times for heavily sanitizing Hawking’s life, but in the end, the film goes to great lengths to faithfully recreate the decades covering Hawking’s first marriage, from the early 1960s to the early 1990s.
The Danish Girl (2015) – Einer Wegener/Lili Elbe
I was pretty sure this was going to be yet another shoo-in for Best Actor at the big awards, but nope — Leo finally clenched it! Good for him. That said, Eddie plays Einar Wegener/Lile Elbe, the first person to undergo a sex-change operation in the 1930s in this gorgeous film by director Tom Hooper. Check out our review of the costumes!
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) – Newt Scamander
Slated for a November 2016 release, we here at Frock Flicks are waiting with bated breath for the next installment in the Harry Potter universe. Eddie plays Newt Scamander, the author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the seminal tract on magical critters and required reading at Hogwarts. Set in the 1920s, and in America, we are going to get a look at a whole new side of the Wizarding World!
What’s your favorite Eddie Redmayne role so far? Tell us in the comments!