Lets just get this out of the way: the 2015 space epic Jupiter Ascending is fairly terrible. The plot is an unmitigated mess; even if the film was going for hilarious pastiche, it didnt seem nearly deliberate enough. But for audiences who came to it hoping for an opulent, campy delight, the film is a masterpiece—especially thanks to its core cast of seasoned scenery-chewers. Which is why its a shame that Eddie Redmayne has apparently been bullied into dissing his own performance, the best part of the entire movie.
“I won a prize for it—for the worst performance of the year,” Redmayne told GQ in a recent interview. “So yeah, it was pretty bad performance by all accounts.”
Redmayne appears to be referring to his 2016 Razzie for worst actor—but no one actually takes those awards seriously anyways. Redmayne also said in the video that he thinks of himself as a “Marmite actor,” in that people either love his performances or hate them. “Those people that loathe what I do, Jupiter Ascending tends to be their favorite of my performances,” Redmayne said.
Poor Redmayne—youre selling yourself short! In Jupiter Ascending—and in the GQ interview itself, come to think of it—Redmayne proves that he has a well-developed sense of self-deprecating humor, despite the somewhat self serious first impression he can make (especially with Oscar-baity performances in films like The Danish Girl and The Theory of Everything, which, lest we forget, actually won Redmayne an Oscar).
In Jupiter Ascending, Redmayne—who had by then become known as a Serious Actor, thanks to films like Les Miserables and My Week with Marilyn—transformed himself into a mercurial space autocrat in a gloriously high collar and cape—sometimes with a shirt underneath, and sometimes not. He mastered lip pursing in a way that could make even Miranda Priestly sweat. His presence reverberated against the walls of every cavernous room he occupied as he shouted things like “I CREATE LIFE!!!” before immediately snapping into a raspy languor to murmur, “. . . and I destroy it.”
It was that raspy voice that many haters latched on to. As Redmayne explained, “My character had had his larynx ripped out by this wolf man, and so I made the slightly bold choice, which I thought was right, of talking like this”—here, he put on a raspy voice—“for the whole film.” Redmayne said that he thought the voice “sort of suited the costumes and the extremity of the world—but in retrospect, it may have been too much. But I love the Wachowskis. Ive never felt so free on set.”
Like everything else about Redmaynes performance, though, the voice was actually pitch-perfect. Unlike so many dull, safe studio-wannabe blockbusters, Jupiter Ascending was willing to take risks—big ones. The plot revolves around a family of humanoid-alien royalty bent on harvesting the Earths population in order to make youth serum, which they bathe in to stay young forever—and one humble cleaning womans quest to stop them. The woman, Jupiter, is played by a delightfully thirsty Mila Kunis, who longs for a wolf-human hybrid played by Channing Tatum, who also had shoes that let him fly through space. By the end of the movie, Jupiter owns the planet Earth—but still chooses to clean toilets, because shes found a new appreciation for life, or something. The idea that this film would have been improved by Redmayne playing his part in a more conventional (read: boring) manner is absurd.
And so, Redmayne, in the words of Mean Girlss Kevin Gnapoor: dont let the haters stop you from doin your thang—especially if that “thang” involves weird voices.
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