Rising British actor Eddie Redmayne has packed a career’s worth of activity into a short time. He's already won a Tony Award, is well regarded for his stage efforts and is quickly making headway on both the small and big screen. He features in the mini-series "The Pillars Of Earth," has appeared in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" and "The Other Boleyn Girl," however, “My Week With Marilyn” is where he’s got his biggest, showiest role to date. As third assistant director Colin Clark, he’s not only got to manage the egos on the set of “The Princess And The Showgirl,” he’s also tasked with being Marilyn Monroe’s unofficial “handler.” And like anyone else who orbited the star, he winds up falling for her.
We sat down and talked with Eddie Redmayne at the New York Film Festival, and discovered that the story of Colin Clark isn’t as cut and dried to him as it would seem. “I think there’s a wondrous aspect to it,” he said. “The fact that the diaries were written, and then he came back and wrote [the book] ‘My Week With Marilyn’ was interesting and suspect.”
To Redmayne, it was all part of a much larger look at a certain moment in movie history balanced by a personal story. “I’m pretty sure that something happened here, something special, intimate,” he says. “I think parts of this film are a celebration for what filmmaking was in this era. But there’s a point when you’re playing a true story where you stick to the script, because there’s no point in bringing this sense of history that isn’t supposed to be in the film."
“But I asked people who worked on the set, a script supervisor and a someone in the publicity department, and they had said that he was an incredibly kind and charming man, and he had a facility to engage with them,” he continued. “So they believed it was possible.” Redmayne, who admits he had not seen the movie around which "My Week With Marilyn" centers, nonetheless relished the chance to delve into this bit of history.
“What was endlessly fascinating was actually seeing ‘The Prince And The Showgirl’ and this incredibly charismatic performance by her, where she blows everyone off the screen, and how you reconcile with what you read about her behavior,” he says, referring to the mood swings, emotional delicacy, and troublesome flirtiness depicted by Michelle Williams in the film.
Redmayne is keeping busy, with an appearance in the Sundance hit “Hick,” and a starring role in “Birdsong.” Abi Morgan, writer of “The Iron Lady” and co-writer of “Shame,” adapted the Sebastian Faulks novel for the BBC, a World War I romance starring Redmayne and Clemence Poesy. Redmayne describes his role as, “A young man in France, 1910. He lives with this family, and he falls in deeply love with the young wife. They have this passionate affair and run off together. She then disappears one day. Cut to the first World War, now this man is a stoic, cold-hearted man. And the war takes him back to France, and he goes in search of this woman. It’s a piece about loneliness, about passion.” Philip Martin will be directing for the BBC, with Matthew Goode and Marie-Josee Croze co-starring.
He still hasn’t forgotten his roots, however, forever thankful for being cast as the son of Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie in “The Good Shepherd.” Director Robert DeNiro has spoken about the desire to revisit that story, possibly in a trilogy, and Redmayne even confirmed that the two of them recently met up backstage during one of his plays. But if you’re looking for a return trip to that world, there’s nothing in the works as of now. “That’s a period of history he’s absolutely fascinated in,” Redmayne confirms. “But he didn’t say it was a work in progress. But I know it retains his interest.” Whatever the case, there is an Eric Roth-penned follow-up just waiting to be shot regarding the Bay of Pigs, but the always-busy DeNiro may no longer consider it a priority.
[Top photo courtesy of Olga Bas via Facebook]