Sharing a single club sandwich with friends and playing endless games of ping-pong -- that was the gist of actor Eddie Redmayne's life before he broke out as a famous face.
Though for the 32-year-old Briton, it hasn't quite sunk in that his portrayal of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking in "The Theory of Everything" has caught the attention of film critics and moviegoers alike.
After all, Redmayne didn't think he would land the role in the first place. "I did that thing you do in job interviews, which is you pretend that you know how to do it," Redmayne told The Los Angeles Times of his audition. "And then you get the job and then you have a meltdown about how you're going to go about doing it."
For the Record
Nov. 18, 3:32 p.m.: This article incorrectly states that Eddie Redmayne is the “face of Burberry.” Rather, he has been featured in past campaigns.
Meltdown? No one would know. Redmayne earned the Hollywood breakout performance award at the Hollywood Film Awards on Friday evening.
As he accepted his shiny black prize from Oscar-winner Jared Leto, he explained how his long-gone days of ping-pong were ruthless, brutally competitive and a complete waste of time.
"So I'm surprised we broke through at all," he quipped.
Adding: "I'm only here because I was given the privilege of playing this extraordinary man. He has not only a staggering mind — he takes risks, he lives passionately and he makes a little mischief on the way."
Redmayne, also the face of British fashion house Burberry, would know. He met Hawking in what he called a "thrillingly nerve-wrecking" situation. "And I did make a fool out of myself, and then managed to get it together."