10 Surprising Facts About Eddie Redmayne

Miikka Skaffari, Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize
Miikka Skaffari, Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize

With his immense talent and considerable charm, it didn’t take long for Eddie Redmayne to make the leap from up-and-coming teen actor with a couple of TV roles on his resume to Academy Award winner.

Three years after his breakout role in 2012’s Les Misérables, Redmayne won the Best Actor Oscar for his brilliant portrayal of the late Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything (and earned a second nomination the following year for The Danish Girl). Adding to his fame, Redmayne then joined the Harry Potter franchise, starring as Newt Scamander in 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

As Redmayne prepares to reprise the magical role for the Fantastic Beasts sequel, The Crimes of Grindelwald, we’ve gathered up some surprising facts about the 36-year-old actor.

1. HE WAS CLASSMATES WITH PRINCE WILLIAM.

The actor has revealed that while in school at Eton College, he was classmates with Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. The two were even elected for The Eton Society, an elite group at the school, and played rugby together. “He’s a wonderful man,” Redmayne told Glamour. “I always felt slightly sorry for him because everyone wanted to tackle the future king of England. He took all the hits.”

Other famous schoolmates of Redmayne at Eton were Avengers actor Tom Hiddleston and William’s younger brother, Prince Harry.

2. HE IS COLORBLIND (SORT OF).

Actor Eddie Redmayne takes part in SiriusXM's Town Hall with the cast of 'Fantastic Beasts:The Crimes Of Grindelwald' on Entertainment Weekly Radio hosted by Jess Cagle at the SiriusXM Studio on November 5, 2018 in New York City
Cindy Ord, Getty Images for SiriusXM

Redmayne has been very open about being slightly colorblind, something his wife Hannah Bagshawe helps him out with when it comes to fashion.

“I almost feel like a bit of a fraud when I say I’m colorblind, because I see in color,” Redmayne explained to GQ. “[I have problems when], for example, I’m shooting a scene, and you have to hit a mark on the floor, and it’s a red marker on green grass. With my peripheral vision I haven’t got a chance. If I look down I can see the difference between the red and the green, but I don’t know how to explain it to people.”

3. HE FIRST REALIZED HE WAS FAMOUS WHEN HE WAS ON A PLANE ... SLEEPING.

Like most actors, Redmayne first realized his level of fame when he was recognized off the set. But when it happened for him, he was sleeping … and on a plane. He once explained that after he awoke during a flight, the passenger sitting next to him asked if he was important, because the flight attendants were watching him sleep.

4. HE WAS EMBARRASSED OF HIS FRECKLES UNTIL HE MET JULIANNE MOORE.

With countless freckles all over his face, Redmayne was admittedly embarrassed by them growing up ... then he auditioned for the role of Julianne Moore’s son in 2007’s Savage Grace. Redmayne told Conan O’Brien that Moore walked in and knew he had to be cast just on appearance alone. (He was.)

5. HE LIED ABOUT HIS HORSEBACK RIDING EXPERIENCE TO LAND A ROLE.

During auditions for the TV miniseries Elizabeth I, Redmayne gave director Tom Hooper the impression that he was an expert horseback rider. Unfortunately, he was lying—and when it came down to actually performing the task, it was more than obvious he had never been on a horse.

“I almost killed myself, almost killed half of the crew,” Redmayne told Conan O’Brien, explaining how Hooper then promptly got on the loudspeaker to yell, “You’re a f***ing liar, Redmayne!”

6. STEPHEN HAWKING PRAISED HIS PERFORMANCE IN THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING.

Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything (2014)
Liam Daniel, Universal Pictures

When Redmayne portrayed Stephen Hawking for The Theory of Everything, even Hawking was impressed. In addition to sharing his praise for the actor on his Facebook page, the film’s director James Marsh shared how intense the famed physicist’s reaction to the movie truly was. “He emailed us, and said there were certain points when he thought he was watching himself,” Marsh told Variety.

7. HE BECAME THE FIRST MAN BORN IN THE 1980S TO WIN AN OSCAR IN ACTING.

For his portrayal of Hawking, Redmayne became the first man born in the 1980s to win an Academy Award for acting. He is also one of 17 actors who have won Oscars for portraying real-life people while they were alive. (Hawking passed away three years after Redmayne’s win.)

8. HIS AUDITION FOR STARS WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS WAS A BIT OF A DISASTER.

Eddie Redmayne speaks onstage at the Warner Bros. theatrical panel during Comic-Con International 2018 at San Diego Convention Center on July 21, 2018 in San Diego, California
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Before he became a part of the world of Harry Potter, Redmayne auditioned to become a part of the Star Wars galaxy. He auditioned for the role of Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens, but Redmayne said the production was so secretive that he really had no idea who the character was or how he fit into the story. To compensate, he tried doing a Darth Vader imitation. It did not go well.

“My Star Wars audition was pretty catastrophically bad,” he admitted in 2014. “There’s this wonderful casting director called Nina Gold, who I absolutely love. I went in and did this scene and after seven times of trying to play a baddie [Gold] was like, ‘Got anything else, Eddie?’ I said, ‘Okay, that’s a childhood dream crushed.'"

9. HE AUDITIONED FOR THE ROLE OF TOM RIDDLE IN HARRY POTTER.

Years before scoring the lead role in Fantastic Beasts, Redmayne auditioned for the original Harry Potter series. “I actually auditioned to play Tom Riddle when I was back at university,” Redmayne told Empire. “I properly failed and didn’t get a call back. Over the years I always hoped I might be cast as a member of the Weasley family, but unfortunately not."

10. HE WAS THE FIRST AND ONLY CHOICE FOR FANTASTIC BEASTS.

Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston in 'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald' (2018)
Jaap Buitendijk, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Though Redmayne didn't land the part of Riddle, that failed audition got his foot in the door of the Harry Potter universe. When it came time to cast Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts, producer David Heyman immediately thought of Redmayne.

"From the outset, Eddie Redmayne was our first and only choice,” Heyman told The Telegraph. “Not only does he look as if he lives in 1926, but he has all the elements required to be Newt: he’s smart, funny, utterly British, and immensely sympathetic—even as an outsider more comfortable with his beasts than with people."

15 Game of Thrones Products Every Fan Needs

Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones
Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones
Helen Sloan, HBO

Though Game of Thrones might be coming to its official end, that doesn’t mean that your fandom can’t—or won’t—carry on. Whether you’re a years-long defender of House Stark or have been rooting for House Targaryen since the beginning, there’s a candle, collectible pin, coffee mug, card game, and pretty much anything else you can imagine with your name (and preferred sigil) on it.

1. A Song of Ice and Fire Book Series; $46

Bantam's 'A Song of Ice and Fire' book series

Bantam, Amazon

If you’ve never read George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, the book series upon which the series is based, plenty more Westerosi drama awaits. And just because you’ve seen every episode of the series 10 times doesn’t mean you know which way the books will turn. (The TV show diverged from their narrative a long time ago—and dozens of the characters who have been killed off on your television screen are still alive and well in the books.) Plus, as Martin has yet to complete the series, you may just catch up in time for the newest book.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Map Marker Wine Stopper Set; $50

Nobody solves a problem like Tyrion Lannister … and his thought process usually includes copious amounts of wine (Dornish if you’ve got it). Something tells us you’re going need some vino yourself to get through the giant, hour-long hole left in your Sunday nights once Game of Thrones officially ends. Make sure you don’t let a drop of it go to waste by keeping one of these six wine stoppers—each one carved to represent the sigil of the most noble houses in the Seven Kingdoms—handy.

Buy it: HBO Shop or BoxLunch

3. Winterfell Coffee Mug; $25

If coffee is more your speed—we get it: the night is dark and full of terrors—this simple-yet-elegant Winterfell mug is an easy way to communicate to your co-workers why you’re typically a little bleary-eyed on Monday mornings.

Buy it: HBO Shop

4. Hodor Door Stop; $12

A 3D-printed Hodor door stop, inspired by 'Game of Thrones'

3D Cauldron, Amazon

An important part of being a Game of Thrones fan is accepting that showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff have no problem killing off your favorite characters, often in brutal ways. One of the series’ most memorable deaths was that of Hodor, Bran Stark’s personal mode of transport, who we loved despite the fact that the only word he ever uttered for six seasons was “Hodor”—and who we loved even more when, in the final moments of his life, we learned why that was the case. Pay tribute to the gentle giant, and his backstory, with this 3D-printed door stop.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Tarot Card Deck; $25

A 'Game of Thrones' tarot card deck, from Chronicle Books

Chronicle Books, Amazon

Channel your inner Maggy the Frog and see what the future holds for you and your loved ones (your enemies, too, if the mood strikes you) with Chronicle Books’s gorgeously packaged tarot card deck. The tarot tradition and Game of Thrones mythology blend seamlessly together in this box of goodies, which includes an instruction book and illustrated cards featuring your favorite characters and most beloved scenes from the show.

Buy it: Amazon or Chronicle Books

6. Fire and Blood Candle; $12

Mad Queen or not, show that you still stand behind the Mother of Dragons by filling your home with this House Targaryen-inspired votive candle. Best of all: Just wait to see the look on the faces of your guests when they ask “Mmmm … what’s that smell?” If you’d prefer not to answer with “fire and blood—doesn’t it smell delicious?,” there are other scents available: one called "Moon of My Life My Sun and Stars," another called "Be a Dragon," and one inspired by the Iron Throne itself (which must smell like victory).

Buy it: HBO Shop

7. Clue: Game of Thrones; $50

Margaery Tyrell with the battle axe in Cersei’s bedchambers. Rewrite the rules—and brutal deaths—of Game of Thrones with this special edition of the classic board game, which tasks you with figuring out who murdered whom, using what weapon, and where the incident took place. A double-sided playing board lets you choose whether you want to set the game in The Red Keep or Meereen.

Buy it: HBO Shop or BoxLunch

8. Game of Thrones Monopoly; $24

'Game of Thrones Monopoly' game board

Hasbro, Amazon

Who wants to be the Lord or Lady of Winterfell when you can become the preeminent real estate mogul of all the Seven Kingdoms? This special-edition Monopoly board puts a distinctly Westerosian twist on the classic game, with silver tokens to represent the sigils of each of the main houses and a card holder that plays the series’ haunting score whenever you press it.

Buy it: Amazon or Best Buy

9. House Stark Hoodie; $60

If you really wanted to dress like a Stark, you’d have a master blacksmith on hand to help customize your armor—or at least turn your IKEA rug into a luxurious cape. If you’re far less crafty, there’s always this full-zip hoodie featuring an embroidered direwolf on the front and an outlined illustration of the same on the back. The minimalist design is a way to show your fandom in a way that, to the untrained eye, might just look like you’re a fan of wolves. But the rest of us will know better. And approve.

Buy it: ThinkGeek

10. Deluxe Iron Throne Funko Pop! Set; $130

Funko's Iron Throne Pop! set of five

Funko, HBO Shop

Though it seems unlikely that a few of these characters will ever sit on the Iron Throne (either because they’re dead or have gone mad), a fan can always hope. And buying them as part of this five-piece set is an easy way to collect them all. If you don’t see your favorite character here, Amazon has got plenty more squat-headed figures to choose from, including Arya, Brienne of Tarth, Rhaegal (poor Rhaegal), and Ghost (poor Ghost). If you ever happen upon a headless Ned Stark Pop!, grab it; this hard-to-find figure can sell for more than $2000 on eBay.

Buy it: HBO Shop

11. Iron Throne Bookend; $60

After devoting more than eight years of your life to seeing Game of Thrones all the way through, maybe it’s you who deserves the Iron Throne. You can’t sit on this 7.5-inch replica, the base of which features sigils from all the noble houses, but you can show off your fancy George R.R. Martin book collection … or all that dragon fan fiction you’ve been working on.

Buy it: Best Buy or the HBO Shop

12. Game of Thrones Music Box; $13

'Game of Thrones' music box

Shenzhen Youtang Trade Co., Amazon

Channel your inner Arya by psyching yourself up with the iconic Game of Thrones theme song whenever you feel the need to hear it with this hand-cranked music box.

Buy it: Amazon

13. Iron Throne Tankard; $70

Show your guests who's boss at your next dinner party—or raucous feast—as you take your place at the head of the table and guzzle your mead (or giant's milk—we don't judge) from this Iron Throne-themed tankard, completed with sword handle.

Buy it: HBO Shop

14. Game of Thrones Socks; $8

It gets cold in the North. Keep your tootsies warm with this six-pack of stylish ankle-cut socks.

Buy it: Target

15. Living Language Dothraki; $16

A copy of the Living Language Dothraki language course

Living Language, Amazon

By now, you've surely learned at least a handful of common Dothraki words and phrases. But if you wan to become fluent in the (fictional) language, this language course is one way to do it. Now: Finne zhavvorsa anni?

Buy it: Amazon

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

Will Varys's Letters Matter in the Game of Thrones Finale?

Conleth Hill as Lord Varys in Game of Thrones
Conleth Hill as Lord Varys in Game of Thrones
Helen Sloan, HBO

Warning: Spoilers for all aired episodes of Game of Thrones ahead.

The final episode of Game of Thrones is upon us, and after last week’s episode, “The Bells,” most of our biggest questions now revolve around Daenerys Targaryen’s fate. The Mother of Dragons made the controversial decision to burn King’s Landing to the ground, and that move—combined with the fact that she’s not the true heir to the Iron Throne—might result in an ending that is not in her favor.

While viewers know that Jon Snow is actually the person with the rightful claim to the throne, very few people in the show do (and not all of them are still alive to tell the story). Lord Varys tried to right that wrong by writing letters presumably to people across Westeros in the beginning of the most recent episode, but was executed soon after.

Did he manage to send any of the letters, and if so, who will even receive them?

During the episode we see two scenes in which Varys is writing letters, and PopSugar argues that this means he must have sent at least one batch. Writer Andrea Johnson also poses a theory that he informed the new Prince of Dorne of Jon’s true claim. The mention of this new character in the previous episode, “The Last of the Starks,” seemed very random to fans at the time, leading many to believe that the Prince of Dorne—whose identity is still unknown to us—might play a part the finale.

Varys already had an established relationship with the people of Dorne and, as PopSugar points out, if the new prince is a member of House Martell, who have historically been allies with the Targaryens, he would likely support Jon, a.k.a. Aegon Targaryen, as king.

ScreenRant speculates that Varys could also be sending letters to the Vale and Riverrun, looking for support from Edmure Tully and Robin Arryn. As neither have been loyal to Daenerys, they would likely be open to accepting Jon’s true claim. Plus, back in February, a cast list leak included both Tobias Menzies and Lino Facioli (who play Edmure and Robyn, respectively) among the actors who would appear in season 8, though they've been no-shows so far.

Despite how those in the other kingdoms would feel about Daenerys, even considering her most recent actions in King's Landing, whether or not they’ll learn the truth in time is still a question mark. With only one episode left, the First of Her Name will have to act fast if she wants to live, let alone win the Iron Throne.

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