When Eddie Redmayne was in the running for an Oscar for his performance in Theory of Everything, some wondered if his chances would be hindered by his performance in another movie that came out just as Oscar voting was underway: Jupiter Ascending. The original sci-fi film from The Wachowskis was an ambitious, bold epic that showcased a very ambitious, very bold performance from Redmayne as Balem Abrasax, an emperor who controls the wealthiest business empire in the known universe.
Redmayne’s performance as Abrasax is out there, complete with a voice that modulates between a whisper and a scream over the course of a single sentence. Ultimately the role didn’t hurt the actor—he won the Oscar for his stunning turn in Theory of Everything—but questions remain about his choices made while making Jupiter Ascending.
And now we have answers! As part of a GQ video in which Redmayne runs down his most iconic performances, he seems to admit his performance in Jupiter Ascending is, well, bad:
“People seem to either enjoy what I do or loathe what I do, and for those people that loathe what I do, Jupiter Ascending tends to be their favorite of my performances (laughs). I won a prize for it for the worst performance of the year, so yeah it was a pretty bad performance on all accounts (laughs).”
The actor went on to explain why his voice is so strange in the film:
“His larynx had been ripped out by this wolf man, so I made this slightly bold choice—which I thought was right—of talking like this for the whole film, which I felt suited the costumes and the extremity of the world. But in retrospect it may have been too much?”
Honestly I kind of love the boldness of Redmayne’s performance in that film, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. This is a movie where Channing Tatum plays a wolf man with rocket boots. It’s weird! So a weird performance was warranted.
Redmayne also made a point to note how much he enjoyed working with the Wachowskis on Jupiter Ascending:
“But I love the Wachowskis. I have never felt so free on set. Lana would just scream notes like, ‘Do it like an accountant!’ but my interpretation of that was to shout really loudly, which is very odd because I have a kind, gentle accountant.”
Check out the full video below. The Jupiter Ascending talk begins around the 7:40 mark.