Chosen One of the Day: Eddie Redmayne's gravel-worn voice in Jupiter Ascending

Contributed by
Jun 23, 2017

I don't know how he achieved it.

Did he gargle with thumbtacks?

Is it possible he found the exact dilution level of Drano and water in order to get that perfectly burned throat sensation but not like, you know, die?

Perhaps he swallowed some of the bees on hand to shoot the "genetically programmed to recognize royalty" scene in order to obtain the perfect level of swelling needed to pull it off.

Maybe he followed One Direction on tour while shooting, every night going to a show and screaming his lungs out in order to maintain that coarse gravel in each and every word on set the next day.

Or it could simply be the physical manifestation of every single piece of scenery that he chose to chew on with every line read.

Whatever the explanation, Eddie Redmayne showed up on the set of Jupiter Ascending having made a choice. No need here for fancy Darth Vader-esque voice modulators. Nothing but the real vocal acrobatics of Redmayne's pipes would be enough for Balem Abrasax, the eldest brother of the villainous family that serve as the antagonists to Mila Kunis' Jupiter, the not-female-Neo but totally female-Neo "chosen one" hero of the film. Redmayne insists that not a word be uttered that doesn't need to be forced, kicking and screaming, across his gums. Accept nothing less for the portrayal of a man who has spent millennia creating and then harvesting entire planets in order to generate eternal life and bath gel from their stem cells.

I often praise actors for making ridiculous choices for the fun of a ridiculous movie, the proverbial "only one who knows what movie he's in" type. However, Redmayne's vocal choice is so over the top that it almost makes me feel like the movie's batshit nature actually evolved in order to match that. Every choked threat or grimaced declaration gave birth to side quests of bureaucratic robot bribery, or an entire extra climax shoehorned right in the middle of the film. Each second of sky-skating or questionable ethics of loving a genetically spliced dog man was generated from the sudden shouts of Balem Abrasax.

You might think I'm hating on this movie, and specifically Redmayne, but I assure you I am not. I have spent many an hour feverishly defending the Wachowski sisters' crazy-ass space opera to anyone who will listen, and mostly to those who won't. I adore every second of Redmayne's performance here, his decision to let go of every instinct that he normally listens to, the instincts that previously led him to win an Oscar. There's something freaking wonderful about seeing a legit talented actor just throw his caution to the wind and bathe in the absurdity of a role, and I'm here for every second of it.

But, for the love of God, someone give this man a lozenge.