It’s hard, if not impossible, for an actor to escape nervousness and bad auditions along his or her acting journey. But it’s important these experiences don’t convince you to that you are unworthy of continuing in your pursuits. Just ask British actor, Eddie Redmayne. Right now he’s making everything look easy. His masterful performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything has been described as “completely convincing,” and is receiving Oscar buzz. But he points out that he fought hard for the role, and it wasn’t easy. “You sort of just have to keep sort of trying to move forward and push the boundaries of what you’ve done.” What kind of boundaries has Redmayne had to push through?

First of all, according to an interview with Happy Sad Confused Pod Cast he shares with copious self-depreciating humor that, “I do suffer from nerves” which seems to stand out as a dominant personality trait. He describes an experience during a theater performance when he forgot his lines, “I just completely blanked, and it was like that nightmare you’ve had, and it was just like that white noise, I could just see all these people in the audience…and everything was going in slow motion, and I was like, ‘Wow, I really don’t know what’s coming out next!’…All these other actors were trying to help me out, trying to feed me lines, but all I could hear was [white noise].” Redmayne found a way out of his anxiety by returning to the beginning of the monologue. He later discovered a representative from Warner Brothers’ was in the audience.

As far as worst auditions, Eddie concedes he’s had “hundreds” of them. One of these included the J.J. Abrams-directed Star Wars: Episode VII–The Force Awakens. “My Star Wars audition was pretty catastrophically bad. There’s this wonderful casting director called Nina Gold, who I absolutely love. I went in and did this scene, and after seven times of trying to play… [Gold] was like, ‘Got anything else, Eddie?’ I said, ‘Okay, that’s a childhood dream crushed.'”

Redmayne described another embarrassing audition for the major film franchise, The Hobbit. “I did a very awful audition…trying to do my Bilbo Baggins impression,” he painfully admits.

In past interviews, Eddie has expressed other audition regrets.  For instance, when he auditioned for a role in Elizabeth I with Helen Mirren, the director, Tom Hooper asked, “One last thing: Eddie, have you ever been on a horse?” Eddie replies “yes” although he hadn’t. A few weeks later on the set in Lithuania, Redmayne describes, “Helen Mirren and Jeremy Irons are standing at this balcony, and there’s Tom, cameras, rain machines, 50 Lithuanian extras, spurs attached to my feet, and I’m thinking, ‘At what point do I tell them that I have never, ever ridden a horse?’ It was then that I realized a big part of the cliche of actors lying in audition is that you should probably try to do the thing you said you can do before filming starts. Anyway, I nearly killed people as the horse galloped off at a hundred miles an hour after I gave it the slightest nudge. Tom came out with his megaphone and shouted, ‘You’re a @$#*ing liar, Redmayne!”

Redmayne has recounted one way in which he has tried to reassure himself through his acting struggles. “Daniel Day-Lewis and Ryan Gosling have to learn lines too. Do you know what I mean? However genius Ryan Gosling is on the ukulele, however brilliant other people are, it’s reassuring to know that even Ben Kingsley has to walk around his room learning lines. It’s the great leveler,” Eddie shares.

Redmayne is thrilled to be at a point where he’s working consistently. He is inspired by what he’s learned about Stephen Hawking along the way: “It’s not just those challenges or limitations that define us, but it’s…how we choose to overcome them.” Certainly, the same can be said of Eddie as he continuously strives forward in his career. You can also see Redmayne as alien royalty Balem Abrasax in the upcoming Wachowskis space opera film Jupiter Ascending which is expected to come out in February.