Q&A: Les Mis' Marius

Ruven Afanador

London's Eddie Redmayne, 30, is one of the movie's two standout newcomers.

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: Tell us about your audition.

Eddie Redmayne: I was making Hick with Chloe Moretz and Blake Lively in North Carolina. One night, we went over to Blake's and they turned on some music, and everyone was singing along. At the time, Les Mis was being played, and they said, "You should audition for that." Two nights later, I was in the middle of a field in North Carolina in my trailer and thought, "Why not give it a shot?" [He ended up filming a video audition "dressed as a cowboy," singing "Empty Chairs and Empty Tables."] I sent it to my agent, [CAA's] Josh Lieberman, who sent it to Eric Fellner. The last audition was X Factor-style, in a room above the Queen's Theatre in the West End, where Les Mis is playing. And behind a panel were the Working Title producers, Cameron Mackintosh, Claude-Michel Schonberg, Alain Boublil, Tom Hooper and Nina Gold, the music director. I never felt so terrified in my life.

THR: More than being carried through the sewers by Hugh Jackman?

Redmayne: That's what my girlfriend said: "Tell me about being carried in Hugh Jackman's bicep! What was that like?" What Hugh had to go through was insane. He's an extraordinary leader, and we all committed to his level. But it's very physical. How do you protect your voice? Tom also gave us great freedom to stop thinking about it: "If crying blocks up your nose, do that. Let the exertion affect your voice."