Eddie Redmayne On Playing a Serial Killer in ‘The Good Nurse’


Eddie Redmayne’s children aren’t that impressed by his acting career. So he was caught off guard when his six-year-old daughter asked him if he was a wizard. Though she has never seen any of the “Fantastic Beasts” movies, in which Redmayne stars as Ministry of Magic employee Newt Scamander, she had just caught a bit of a trailer.

Redmayne reveals that he wasn’t sure how to respond. “That’s one of those moments in life where, partly you want to be the cool dad and go, ‘Yeah, I’m a wizard!’ and the other part of you doesn’t want to lie to your children and set them off in the wrong direction,” Redmayne recalls.

The Oscar winner then tried to showcase his sorcery skills. “I got out a coin and did a slightly shoddy magic trick to make the coin disappear and she was like, ‘Okay that’s good. But in that trailer I saw, you managed to make a building disappear.’ So I think she’s seen through my lack of wizarding prowess.”

On this edition of the award-winning Variety Awards Circuit podcast, Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”) talks about his new role in “The Good Nurse,” which has put him in the Oscar conversation for best supporting actor. He also discusses his time in “Fantastic Beasts” and what’s coming next. Listen below!

Redmayne is primarily known for playing lovable and endearing characters – in addition to Scamander, that includes his Oscar-winning turn as Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything,” the bright-eyed Marius in “Les Misérables” and the transgender painter Lile Elbe in “The Danish Girl.”

But Redmayne is coming off a string of roles in which he was cast against type. Earlier this year, he played the mysterious Emcee in a revival of “Cabaret” opposite Jessie Buckley as Sally Bowles (winning both stars Olivier Awards). It was a passion project for Redmayne, who first played the part when he was a teenager and calls it a “dream role.”

And this week sees the release of “The Good Nurse” (currently in theaters, and streaming on Netflix starting Oct. 26) in which he portrays Charles Cullen, a serial killer who confessed to murdering 40 patients under his care (though experts predict that number could be as high as 400). Directed by Tobias Lindholm with a script by Krysty Wilson-Cairns, “The Good Nurse” also stars Jessica Chastain as Amy Loughren, a close friend of Cullen’s who ultimately helped bring him to justice.

Redmayne is clever casting, as Cullen spends a good part of the movie being a loyal friend and confidante to Amy. But the actor also shows us eerie glimpses of the monster underneath.

He says he wasn’t necessarily drawn to the role because it was against type. “The most interesting work for me is when directors see something in you, and Tobias Lindholm saw something in me,” says Redmayne, adding that many of his character have had a common trait. “I’ve played empathy as a big part of them and talking to the real Amy Loughren, the Charlie Cullen that she met in these wards was an empathetic man: gentle, kind, funny, self-deprecating. So one of the intriguing qualities I found about playing Charlie was actually playing this empathetic man who then weaponized his empathy to do utterly horrific things.”

Redmayne discusses delving into the role of Cullen, how he fears he may have traumatized his children when they realized he was not the good nurse in the film and early auditions – including one for “The Hobbit” where he put on a character voice he now regrets. He adds, “I did a similar thing auditioning for ‘Star Wars’ once in which I tried to do my sort of sci-fi baddie voice, which in the past won me a Razzie. So it’s I think that voices and me don’t work that well.”

Also on this episode of the Awards Circuit Podcast, director Rian Johnson discusses his new film “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” in addition to discussing the state of his planned “Star Wars” trilogy and how many “Knives Out” movies he will continue to make.

Finally, the Awards Circuit roundtable is back to talk about the week’s latest releases including “The Banshees of Inisherin,” the next festival stop at the Savannah Film Festival and the campaign news for the films “She Said” from Universal Pictures and “Women Talking” from MGM/UAR.


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Lee Clarke
Lee Clarke
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