Hollywood Film Awards: Winner Eddie Redmayne on How His Career Started With Ping-Pong

Eddie Redmayne HFAs - H 2014
AP Images/Invision

Eddie Redmayne HFAs - H 2014

"It was ruthless. It was brutally competitive," the actor joked

Eddie Redmayne took the stage at the Hollywood Film Awards to receive the Hollywood Breakout Performance Actor award for his turn in The Theory of Everything.

But before he was playing Stephen Hawking in the awards magnet, he said in his acceptance speech, he was playing ping-pong. Lots of ping-pong, in fact.

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The actor explained that when he and a group of fellow actors came to Hollywood from England eight or nine years ago, they would crash on friends' floors and couches while looking for work.

"Between auditions, we had nowhere to go, and we’d drive these bashed-out rental cars down to a hotel not far from here," Redmayne said, on stage at the Hollywood Palladium. "We’d basically share a single club sandwich between us and play endless games of ping-pong. It was ruthless, it was brutally competitive, and it was a complete waste of time."

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In presenting him with the award, Jared Leto praised the actor's extensive preparation to play Hawking.  

Redmayne in turn honored the scientist. "I'm only here because I was given the privilege of playing this extraordinary man," he said. "He has not only a staggering mind — he takes risks, he lives passionately and he makes a little mischief on the way."

The Hollywood Film Awards aired live for the first time on CBS. Check out the winners list here, and also take a look at the best in red carpet styleoutrageous show moments and what the winners were saying backstage

The Hollywood Film Awards are produced by Dick Clark Productions, a sister company of The Hollywood Reporter.