Eddie Redmayne has disclosed that he still calls on his Eton drama teacher for advice about acting.
Redmayne may be 32, with a string of film and television credits to his name, but he continues to rely on Simon Dormandy for guidance.
“Occasionally I’ll call up Simon and say, ‘Can I just come and run through some stuff with you?’ He is still the person whose advice I seek,” Redmayne said, adding that the teacher “was so inspiring he gave me a career”.
Dormandy spent 15 years as head of drama at Eton, the public school that also counts actors Tom Hiddleston and Damian Lewis among its former pupils.
He is now a theatre director, and Redmayne attended the opening night of his new production, Eldorado, at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston, east London.
The actor said: “He was always brilliant when we were at school and it’s amazing to see him working professionally.”
Dormandy said he spotted Redmayne’s talent when the schoolboy first auditioned.
“The first time I met Eddie, he was in the very first production I did: my own adaptation of A Passage to India,” Dormandy told the Evening Standard.
“He played the leading female part and I knew as soon as I met him that he was exceptionally gifted.”
Redmayne credits his experience in female roles – a necessity at the single-sex school – as landing him his first professional role as Viola in an all-male production of Twelfth Night.
“I’m sure the only reason I got that job was because I played girls’ parts in school plays,” he said.
The actor went on to appear in Tess of the D’Urbervilles and Birdsong for the BBC, and the films My Week With Marilyn and Les Misérables.
Dormandy was an actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company before arriving at Eton, and also appeared in television adaptations of Vanity Fair and Little Dorrit.
He taught at the school from 1997 to 2012. The play he is directing for the Arcola, by the German playwright Marius von Mayenburg, is a satire about Western corporations profiting from foreign wars.