Welcome to Admiring Felicity Jones, your best source for everything Felicity Rose Hadley Jones since 2016. Felicity is known for her roles in The Theory of Everything, Inferno, A Monster Calls & Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Our goal is to keep you updated with every project, photoshoot and news from the career of the British actress. Enjoy your stay.
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Who hasn’t dreamed of going up to the sky and touching the clouds? In 1962, James Glaisher and his pilot, Henry Coxwell, went up to a record-setting 36,000 feet. The journey undertaken by these scientists is dramatized in the new film, The Aeronauts. Directed by Tom Harper, The Aeronauts stars Eddie Redmayne as Glaisher and Felicity Jones as a fictional character, Amelia Wren, who is based on a composite of several real-life balloonists, including Sophie Blanchard and Coxwell himself.

The Aeronauts is at once an intimate story about two people trying to find their place in the world, a celebration of the scientists who push the boundaries of what is possible, and a harrowing thrillride with some of the most creative and amazing action of any film this year. Jones and Redmayne are perfectly paired as misfits on a mission to prove themselves to anyone and everyone who ever doubted them, while the jaw-dropping special effects speak for themselves.

While promoting The Aeronauts, Felicity Jones sat down with Screen Rant to discuss her work on the film, from reuniting with her co-star from The Theory of Everything to tossing a dog out of a hot air balloon (don’t worry, the pooch is fine!). She discusses the pressures of acting in such a confined space as a balloon basket and the challenges that come from filming action scenes while surrounded entirely by blue screens.

The Aeronauts is out in theaters now, and releases on Amazon Prime streaming on December 20.

I know you shot some stuff up in the air in an actual balloon, but I imagine a lot of the movie is you and Eddie in a box surrounded by blue screens.

Yes. It was an interesting juxtaposition, actually. They built a balloon for real, hand-made, that we took on a flight on our first day, doing these helicopter shots, wide shots of us in the initial scenes where they’re taking off. So we kind of went from this incredible, absolutely real experience to something that was Eddie and I in a blue room with blue walls and blue carpet for hours and hours in a very small space. We’re definitely an experience in extremes.

I imagine you had to deal with this sort of thing on Star Wars, but how much do you have to take on faith, that it’s going to look good, when you’re on the set, shaking the basket. Are you like, “This had better look cool in post!”

Yeah, that’s the thing! It’s interesting, because you can’t fake it. When you try to do it with the shaky basket, and doing it half-energy, it just looks so fake. Actually, in order to make it look real, we really had to go for it. Obviously, the way it was being shot, George Steel, the DoP, was in the basket with us. It was very intimate. You couldn’t get away with it.

With not believing it?

We had to go through those experiences. There’s one sequence where Eddie is hauling me into the basket near the beginning of the film, and a lot of that, there’s some real pain going on as we’re doing it! And the rain is lashing on us, and together, all those elements, making it as believable as possible for the audience, we really had to go there.

Speaking of Eddie, I always wonder what it’s like to re-team with a former co-star, but not in a sequel. This has a very different tone from The Theory of Everything, obviously. Is there chemistry built-in with you, or do you feel like you’re starting from scratch again?

It feels as though we had already built that chemistry and that trust. I think that was a huge part of it. We understood each other. We had very similar ideas about things. I think we have similar instincts. We both push each other. We don’t rest until we get something really interesting and strange and real and effective. There’s definitely, I feel he really brings out the best in me, and hopefully, vice-versa.

There are a lot of special-effects driven films where almost every shot has some kind of computer magic attached to it. But this movie is also intimate because the majority of the film, even with flashbacks and such, is set in, like, this five-by-five box! I imagine, a lot of the time, it was just the two of you and the director.

Yes. It was exactly that, actually. That’s how it felt. It felt very immediate. Actually, the emotional truth that these characters are going through is very raw. They’re not super heroes. I think that is what made it so challenging, trying to get that verisimilitude, that emotional verisimilitude (laughs). That was really the challenge, as well as this huge spectacle. But that’s why, to a certain extent, it was probably much harder than when you’re doing pure action.

Both you and Eddie, you have arcs. You end up in different places from where you start. Even with the flashbacks, how much work does it take to articulate that with acting, without really getting to traverse a physical space?

The whole world has to happen in that small space. It becomes a really small stage. Actually, we rehearsed before we started shooting, and that was a really good way of saying, how do we make this basket interesting and complex, and showing the shifts and, honestly, there’s a big relationship going on with the weather and the elements throughout this story. It’s not just them with each other. It’s them with the world, which is kind of a metaphor for most relationships, and how do relationships survive when the world wants different things and the individuals have their own traumas. It’s very much a metaphor for recovery, hope, and love.

Yes, but I’m so glad they don’t kiss in the end! Their relationship was not the typical whirlwind romance you might expect in this kind of movie. It’s so rare, even in 2019, to find a movie where men and women respect each other.

They save each other. Maybe there might be something in the future for them, but in the film, it’s about two souls just trying to figure out a way through this crazy world. They find it’s easier if they can do it together.

There’s a scene very early on, your first scene, you’re wearing this makeup that I’ve never seen before. What was that? You look like a doll!

Oh, the white, yes. The white chalk. It’s what they would have done in the theater in that time, in the 19th century. They would do this chalky substance that they’d put on their faces, and then these red, round circles would be the blush, and then they’d do this little red lip. It was very much the fashion of the time for theater. We thought, oh, that would be really interesting if she was done up like that as part of her performance. The whole idea is that she’s made that costume herself, and she’s done her own makeup. It’s pretty home made.

You can’t get away with throwing a dog out of a hot air balloon unless you’ve got a fun outfit.

Yeah, exactly! (Laughs) You’d just look cruel.

There was a five-second space when I was like, “Oh my God, this movie is evil,” but then the little parachute deployed, so it was okay.

I know. (Laughs). You can hear the audience’s sigh of relief.

Yes, definitely at my screening!

Humans can go through anything, but make sure the animals are okay!

Last question: I love period movies, especially this era. I’m just crazy over that era of clothing. Those costumes. Eddie looks so dapper. Your character’s homemade dress is still so gorgeous.

It’s a fascinating period, yeah.

Obviously, you didn’t make your dress, but did you get to put a stamp on any of your wardrobe? Like, “Ooh, I think she would wear… This one!”

Yeah. It’s always a collaboration, a discussion. Alex Byrne (Elizabeth: The Golden Age, The Avengers, Doctor Strange) is meticulous on the detail. Those costumes are as authentic as you can get. It has absolute historical accuracy. I had a corset while doing a lot of the stunts, which definitely adds an element (Laughs). There was a big inspiration from Julie Christie in various period films, and how she always looked so modern, yet of the time. That’s what we were going for with in Amelia’s blouses and skirts. We wanted her to feel very different from her sister, and then to have an adventurer’s energy with what she’s wearing. [Source]

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Current Projects
The Midnight Sky

Role: Sully Ginsburg
Release Date: 2020
A scientist, alone in the Arctic, tries to make contact with a spacecraft returning to Earth.
Last Letter from Your Lover

Role: Ellie Haworth
Release Date: 2021
A young journalist in London becomes obsessed with a series of letters she discovers that recounts an intense star-crossed love affair from the 1960s.
Borderland

Role: Unknown
Release Date: Unknown
An IRA member hunts for his wife's murderer, while also being tracked by the same killer.
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