Theory to practice
What could be more rewarding for an actor receiving favorable reviews for a performance than being laudedby the person portrayed? English physicist Stephen Hawking was moved to tears while watching Eddie Redmayne portray him in the biographical film The Theory of Everything, saying that at certain points he thought he was watching himself.
Playing the role of the world’s most famous living scientist has brought the 33-year-old British actor headlines, a Golden Globe for best actor, and an Oscar nomination.Born into a well-to-do family, Redmayne went to a prestigious boarding school with Prince William, studied art history at Cambridge, and won his first theater award in 2004, but the freckle-faced, red-haired actor waited until The Theory of Everything for his first leading man role.
To play a great thinker is challenging for any actor, as their subjects’ minds are hard to penetrate. Playing Hawking requires even more guts and technical skill because his every move is different from ordinary people. Hawking was diagnosed with motor neuron disease at 21.
Redmayne was thrilled and instantaneously nervous when he got the opportunity. He spent four months studying Hawking’s life to immerse himself in the role. He watched every documentary he could find on the scientist. The process was “like writing a doctoral dissertation,” according to Variety magazine.
Redmayne met with more than 30 patients to understand how the disease affected Hawking. The actor also worked with a choreographer, who would ask him: “What’s happening in your pelvis? Are you holding your head right?” He lost 15 pounds (6.8 kilograms) for the role and also grew long fingernails after learning this was Hawking’s habit, although he thought they were dirty.
All of these efforts helped Redmayne do a stellar job sketching out details in the movie. His performance moved him into the acting elite. “Hawking is a role that demands miracles of an actor. And Eddie Redmayne, in a landmark performance, delivers them,” Rolling Stone commented.
Fans are excited to see him competing with his friend, Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch, at the Oscars next month. But this actor who thrives on taking risks is already ready for the next challenge. In his new movie The Danish Girl, Redmayne will play a transgender painter and, in most parts of the film, he will dress in women’s clothing. The proclaimed geek actor also longs for a superhero role. But in order to fulfill that dream, he’ll probably need to regain the weight he lost to play Hawking first.
portray [pɔ:'trei, pəu-]
n. 大标题；内容提要；栏外标题；头版头条新闻vt. 给…加标题；使成为注意中心；大力宣传
prestigious [pre'stidʒəs, -'sti:-]
diagnose ['daiəɡnəuz, ,daiəɡ'nəuz]
vt. 诊断；断定vi. 诊断；判断