Jamie Dornan (“Wild Mountain Thyme”) and Eddie Redmain (“Trial of Chicago”) sat down for a virtual chat. DifferentActors of the actors presented in Amazon Studios. For more information, click here.
Jamie Doranon and Eddie Redmain began their time in Hollywood as roommates: reunited in a video chat a decade later, they reflected on their little red car driving around Los Angeles, only to be rejected at the audition.
It is noteworthy that both actors found themselves in the works of art-house rentals and franchises and developed into two recognized leading men of their generation. Redmain played anti-war activist Tom Hayden in Sarkin’s “Chicago 7’s Trial” (Netflix) when he faced federal accusations for protesting at the 1968 Democratic National Conference. And in John Patrick Shanley’s “Wild Mountain Thyme”, distributed by Blicker Street, Dornan portrays Anthony, an Irish Mr. Darcy who can’t express his feelings for his neighbor (Emily Blunt).
Jamie Dornan: Let’s start by talking about “Trial of Chicago” and your filming by Thomas Hayden. I have to start this trial because I didn’t know much about that trial. You are as bright as anything. How was your experience making the movie?
Eddie Redmayne: Thanks for being kind about it. I think you know that Aaron Sarkin was always the one I liked and the one whose work I felt most gently. So it was actually one of those moments when the script came out that it kind of seemed so good to be true. And I kind of said yes before reading that.
There was actually a bit of hesitation, when you really like someone’s work and you can’t believe they invited you to the party. And yet there is fear: what will happen if they do the only painful thing? Because I did it; I’ve worked with brilliant actors who never do bad pictures, with the exception of the film I do with them. But it was brilliant, and a really interesting read.
Dornan: Let’s take ourselves back to about 10 years ago. “West Wing” is the only television show you have ever seen in your life. And you were just obsessed with it.
Redmayne: Yes yes.
Dornan: Much of the movie reminded me of courtroom dramas that were part of our 90s viewing experience: “A Little Good Man” is the most quotable. Being one of these table-slamming courtroom dramas is so exciting though.
Redmine: Oh, I actually slammed the table. I even knocked on the door at one point.
Dornan: Did you
Redmayne: It was quite satisfying. Mark Reliance got the mother of all slam and every time it was really terrifying.
I read all the stuff before working with Aaron. I remember listening to a podcast with Jessica Chastain [about how precise Sorkin is]. The precision is huge. And I wondered how you found it with John Patrick Shanley. Have you read the play? Have you guys changed some of the adaptations?
Dornan: I didn’t read the play, and I talked about it with Shannon before we started shooting. I said, “Should I tune in to ‘Outside Mullinger’?” – What was the play called? He saw it as a different thing. It lived in its own world. I didn’t really do a play; Most of the scenes felt like theater, especially that 20 minute scene of Emily and me.
Redmayne: The two of you in that scene really blew my mind. You go through different chambers of emotion. Do you accept alone?
Dornan: We did. I think it’s really dangerous as an actor to have a very determined way of what’s going to happen when you hear the action! This scene, because it was so long, we are going through the whole history of this complex relationship between these two individuals.
Luckily, at that point, Emily and I had so much in tune with these weirdos that we were playing – and so it kept pace with how they happened and how they affected each other. I was disappointed if Emily, Rosemary, approached me as Anthony. I just did it naturally because that’s what we made. Honestly the best days I had at work were three.
We are so lucky that we are both here working with Shanley and Sarkin, and we have only been given these words. And we both know how hard it is to sell words you don’t believe in and it’s not great.
Redmayne: There’s a kind of sadness, I get, when the words are good. There was a bit of frustration that, when the words sounded good, they could get excited around. These can be played in a thousand different ways.
Dornan: Of course
Redmayne: I got this unique feeling by going to “Chicago,” very easily at night. “Oh, I don’t want to say that anymore.” And the weird thing with the job, you see that years later, occasionally, you have to walk down the street and the odd line from something will remain. It tends to be something that gives you the pleasure of playing it.
Dornan: I’ve never done a job where I was physically perfect when I finished it. We are in the west of Ireland where it is an Irish crew. Everyone is having a good time. This is just one of the crew. You can feel it. It’s raining all the time. Nobody cares.
And all Americans, just love it. Americans have some attraction to Ireland. When I was finished, when we rolled up, I went to my trailer and had this weird, physical reaction to not having another day with these guys on sets. I slowly collapsed and cried, and it was like, “When does that happen with my work?”
Redmayne: Because it was risky. You thought you had a lot of confidence involved in this film, you have to play the way you were.
Dornan: Acting with confidence. I don’t have much of a confidence, and we all have huge insecurities as actors. I feel like Anthony, I’ve been able to express all my awkwardness and all my weirdness like Jamie.
What do we find in the world today, with the world setting “trial of Chicago 7” in 19 you৮ and the insanity of the landscape of the US election? And this kind of constant rift between what the people want and what the government is giving?
Redmayne: What was weird about this movie was that Aaron Sarkin wrote it, I think, 14 or 15 years ago. And it took a long time to create it. Over the years and years it has been tried to make it with different cassettes and I think the question has always been: is there an audience? And are the themes resonant enough? We finished filming in late November 2019, and since then, it has become relevant in some way or artificially and implicitly that no one can guess.
The movie was released by Paramount in the movies, and Aaron really wanted several types of it urgently. And so Netflix has stopped publishing the picture and the great thing is that it has moved into families around the world where democracy is often challenged and seen.
Dornan: We have known each other forever and have been best friends for 15-plus years. We lived together in LA
Redmayne: Your age is much better, mate.
Dornan: We look better than we did when we met, perhaps, in different ways. Some terrible hair is going on. I remember it was 2009, because – let’s set up something. We weren’t working too much.
Redmayne: Not at all
Dornan: Well, we weren’t working at all. We’re taking a lot of stuff to LA, a lot of times the same thing gets a lot of frustration. I think we’ve been together for about three months. And there was very little to do – if we didn’t audition. I think the reason is that one day we went to a pottery bar or something else and.
Redmayne: I still got it.
Dornan: We made some crockery. We made plates and clay pots and I think we wrote the names of all these actors who were in our gang. Everyone did quite well. You received an Academy Award. I mean, it’s kind of crazy ane
Redmayne: I’m a little embarrassed you’re publishing it in public, I’m going to let my parents know I’m going to LA in January I’m going to be a constant slave trying to finish work.
You and Andrew Garfield were trying to figure out what these things were. And one of them was “Bioshock” [a movie based on a video game, which never got made]. Do you remember “Bioshock”? We went through it and got angry with each other and competed for the same role.
I remember auditioning for “10,000 BC 10,000”, which involved topless, running like Egypt. I mean, look at me. I am a kind of pale, white, molly. For auditions I was always two hours early or an hour late, running these lines endlessly. But it was great in the sense that you tried everything and failed miserably.
Dornan: Absolutely. There were just so many failures. I only remember your rental car – the foot of the front passenger seat was a sea of failed myth parties. You came out with one of those auditions and just let them down, “This is another failure.”
Redmayne: From the second you arrive in LA you are strict with the fare. You will bring some modeling money. You were driving with some naughty things, I would go in the rental car that you had to get on the bus for about three hours from the airport to get this little, red kind of little thing.
Dornan: I will never forget your red.
Redmayne: And then a year later we were invited to a few Oscar watching parties and everyone was equipped with their valet, but I got in my little red car.
Dornan: You were trying to be very tactful when you left, because we were talking to pretty cool guys, and you didn’t want them to see what car you had. And you were like, “No, I actually think I forgot something. I’m going to stick around.” And I was like, “No, Eddie, front! Get your car.”
Redmayne: We have come a long way since those days. I feel so privileged that we – and I know, you – have an element of choice in what we do on a work basis. It’s not just flying over lots of things on the wall.
Dornan: And hopefully, it will stick?
Redmayne: I never value it, get things offered and say.
What happened to me is a picture. It doesn’t feel like overnight you’ve become a sufficiently advanced actor. You’ve just been lucky to have a great director, got the awesome part with great co-stars and worked the alchemy of filmmaking.
Dornan: I was with you when we found out you were doing a “fantastic beast” when we were in Istanbul together. We were all very excited. I celebrated like I got some big jobs and it was a nice thing to be with you, because you spent about a year, winning a clean sweep of the prize circuit [for “The Theory of Everything”].
What can we expect from the third installment of “Fantastic Beast”?
Redmayne: I think I have had a few nights in Watford, Livesden, and I can tell you nothing but this fact, [England], We had to shoot in the summer in the water. But now, obviously, because of the lockdown, and the film being shut down, they are being shot in early December. And suddenly you find yourself swimming outside in the British winter.
What can I say about the plot? Really, not much, mate. I mean, when you come to dinner, I can tell you. Except – I can’t, because this is the NDA I signed.