"You feel kind of drunk and euphoric"

Interview with Felicity Jones & Eddie Redmayne
'The Aeronauts' reunites Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, who previously costarred as Stephen Hawking and his wife Jane in 'The Theory of Everything' (both were nominated for an Oscar, he won the trophy). We asked the two protagonists about the making of this amazing biopic, based on true events.
Felicity, how amazing it was to play such a strong, effervescent female lead?
F.J.: As soon as I read the script I thought 'Wow, this is fantastic!' Not only does the film have this emotional underpinning, but it is also a brilliant action-adventure. Having done stunts before in 'Star Wars: Rogue One' I was desperate to come back and do it again. It was phenomenal, though by the end of the shooting I was sort of broken and bruised (laughs).

Eddie, you went through hypoxia training. What is that?
E.R.: All pilots have to go through this course. They go into a pressure chamber to experience what it's like when they loose pressure at 30.000 feet. You can't really tell what's happening: your behaviour starts changing. I went to experience that, and what happens is that rather than feeling airy and weird you feel kind of drunk and euphoric, and quite arrogant... They give you these little tests as you go higher and higher in the chamber, saying like 'one plus one?', so every thirty seconds they ask you the same question and you are like 'oh I got it, one plus one is seven', and then suddenly you die, basically. The higher my character gets, the more cocky and ambitious and driven he becomes, and it was weird to reconcile that with who he was. So doing the hypoxia training really helped with that.

Felicity, what was the most interesting thing that you've learned?
F.J.: I absolutely loved doing the aerial work. I worked real closely with an aerialist / acrobat. I always wanted to do that! You learn all these different ways of climbing ropes and ribbons... It is amazing! A lot of the skill needed for it was what they do in Cirque de Soleil: it's wonderful what they achieve and it's all through knots so they are just hanging on and balancing, basically. That was a huge fun part of preparing for playing Amelia.

They recreated a true replica of the 1860's gas balloon. How exhilarating it was to travel in that?
E.R.: It's a helium-hydrogen balloon, attached to a basket, and that's it. So we went on this trip and it was breathtaking! It wasn't so scary to begin with: you start on the ground and suddenly you are miles up. It's so silent compared to hot-air balloons, it was the most beautiful and serene experience until we tried to land... when it all went complete haywire. We ended up getting caught in trees and slamming down to the ground. Felicity's head cracked against one of the props... for a terrifying moment I thought she were dead! (they both laugh).

F.J.: And this was the first day of shooting, so it was not only an adventure onscreen but also off-screen as well (smiles).

This film is such a spectacle. Why should audiences see it on the big screen?
E.R.: This film is about the wonder of looking up.
F.J.: It's good to share it with other people because it's a real roller-coaster, a good fun experience.
E.R.: It is really worth checking out on a gigantic screen.

(6 pictures)

Film premieres

Wreck-It Ralph

American, animation, 92 min., 2012
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