During the Toronto International Film Festival, Eddie Redmayne admitted that he truly wished for empty chairs during his “appalling” vocal rendition as Marius in Les Misérables.
Prompted by a conversation in which he sought to reflect on his career, Redmayne took a self-deprecating turn when he overly criticized his own performance of “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” in the 2012 musical Les Misérables, affirming that the song requires a certain fragility to engulf the audience, even though his vocal performance itself was deemed as appalling.
“I love the frailty. Technically, it’s appallingly sung, but it’s got like a fragility that helps sell the song.”
The actor also went on to thoroughly recall the filming process of that particular rendition of the song, admitting that he much preferred focusing on an emotional performance as a mourning Marius over vocal precision. Redmayne also admits he took on the approach upon watching closely Robert De Niro’s work ethics, sharing that “De Niro has this process where he’s filming, and you’d do a take, an emotional take, and then he would stop you and get you to go back and start again, and take the accumulation of that emotion and repress that and fire that back into the start of a scene, and that’s what we did here on this piece eventually.”.
The song, which is a little over three minutes long, apparently took more takes than one would’ve expected. “I’m going to go until I can’t go anymore,” he admitted. “Because at least when you’re not happy with what you end up seeing, you know that you went for it. We did that there. We did push it pretty far.”.
The emotive and raw performances from Redmayne’s co-star Anne Hathaway granted the actress an Oscar for her role as the unfortunate and pitiful Fantine, and a nomination for Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean. Although Redmayne wouldn’t be awarded any Academy Awards for bringing life to Marius, he would get his first Oscar nomination and win in 2015 with his stellar performance in The Theory of Everything.
This fall, Redmayne can be found in Netflix’s newest psychological thriller, The Good Nurse, which will have its premiere on Oct. 26, this time with a more than promising rendition, if the rave reviews are anything to go by.