The Aeronauts: Tom Harper and Eddie Redmayne

Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones in THE AERONAUTS. Courtesy of Amazon Studios

Tom Harper and Eddie Redmayne spoke briefly to Solzy at the Movies about The Aeronauts while on the red carpet this past October.

The Aeronauts
TORONTO, ONTARIO – SEPTEMBER 08: (L-R) Felicity Jones, Tom Harper and Eddie Redmayne attend “The Aeronauts” premiere during the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on September 08, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by GP Images/Getty Images for TIFF)

What was it that attracted you to the screenplay?

Eddie Redmayne:  Well, he wrote the screenplay.  For me, I was reading it while I was making the Fantastic Beasts films.  I found the mixture between the adventure and the thrill of the piece and kind of the visual stuff that just as I read it, I couldn’t possibly imagine the scale and the scope of it mixed with this very intimate character story. That was kind of what I found unique about.

Tom, you came off of Wild Rose, which was a bit smaller in scale.

Tom Harper:  Yeah, Jessie’s here tonight, actually—randomly.

Eddie Redmayne:  Is she?

Tom Harper:  Yeah.  Yeah, she’s here.

Eddie Redmayne:  I wish all the British actors were in Chicago.

Tom Harper:  It’s the place to be—Chicago.

What was the most challenging thing about coming on to bigger scale project film with IMAX cameras compared to Wild Rose?

Tom Harper:  The weird thing is it didn’t feel that different because the process is the same.  I guess that you just get so consumed by wanting to tell the stories, the best of your ability.  I don’t know if it’s the same with you, Eddie.  The other stuff sort of disappears.  Before it started, I was more nervous about it.  And when it was finished, I was more nervous about it.  And just because the stakes are high and you’re spending someone else’s money but during the process, it just becomes about telling the story in the best way you possibly can and everything other than the immediacy of that somehow goes to the goes off the periphery.

You’ve worked with Felicity Jones before. So how was the chemistry going into the film with having worked with her previously?

Eddie Redmayne:  It was one of the great joys of this film was getting to work with someone. I haven’t had that experience getting to work with someone you love again and with the stakes ratcheted up because it so went well last time so you don’t want to return unless you’re going to do something different and push each other further.  That’s what Felicity—when we were both send the script and spoke on the phone about wanting to do it.  That was kind of what we agreed with ourselves that we would just challenge each other and push each other.  It was a very different challenge but it came with its own hurdles and I love that.  A lot of the films set in this basket suspended 30 feet in the air and we wouldn’t be allowed down for hours so we had a lot we had a lot of fun during the time between the tapes

After making The Aeronauts, would you like the opportunity to take a balloon ride 30,000 plus feet up in the air?

Tom Harper:  That’s a good question.

Eddie Redmayne:  We did take a flight, which we shot—a few flights.  I don’t know if you heard but that ended up slightly disastrously for Felicity and I.  I’m slightly off air ballooning for a while.  Also, Tom and I went in this tank—these pressure tanks—to experience what hypoxia is like. It basically simulates what it’s like to be at 30,000 feet.

Tom Harper:  Did you ever see the video of that?

Eddie Redmayne:  Yeah, we were crazy.  It basically turns you crazy.  Just beyond that—this was in a controlled environment but about five seconds later, you die.  So I’m quite out for just staying bound for a while.

Tom Harper:  I’d probably like to get my piloting license.

Eddie Redmayne:  Really?!?

Tom Harper:  Genuinely. I think it’s for when it’s time to retire.  That’s the time to do it.

Eddie Redmayne:  Yeah, I suppose if you’re going to die, I’d figure that—

Tom Harper:  When you’re old—

Eddie Redmayne:  No, in a balloon.

Amazon Studios opens The Aeronauts in theaters on December 6, 2019.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.