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Eddie Redmayne shares why his parents are the secret to his success

The Oscar winner says that as a parent himself he now has even more respect for his mom and dad's parenting philosophy.

Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne doesn't come from a theatrical family, but he does credit his parents for his success in the film industry.

Redmayne, 40, who won an Academy Award playing Stephen Hawking in "The Theory of Everything" and most recently portrayed a serial killer opposite Jessica Chastain in Netflix's "The Good Nurse" spoke with Willie Geist on Sunday TODAY's "Sunday Sitdown" and talked about his supportive family and how despite his parent's advice, he really had no backup plan if his dream career didn't work out.

Redmayne started acting at age 10, attending the Jackie Palmer Studios Stage School in London with classmates including James Corden and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Redmayne was one of five children — his father was a banker and his mother ran a relocation business.

Eddie Redmayne and Willie Geist.
Eddie Redmayne and Willie Geist. Sunday TODAY

"I don't come from a family who were massive theater fans or film or music fans," he told Geist. For some reason, the actor said he had "an instinct" for the craft.

"I loved music and singing and acting at school," he said. "To my parents' credit, which now as a parent myself I really do hold high, anything I had an interest in or my brothers had an interest in, they supported."

Redmayne studied art history at Trinity College and performed in Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" catching the eye of a talent agent. It was then that he began to take the idea of acting as a career seriously. Still, his parents encouraged him to go to university and have a backup plan in case acting didn't work out.

"I thought maybe a curator?" he said when asked what other jobs he considered.

Thankfully, a backup plan wasn't needed.

Redmayne's breakout role came when he starred in the 2012 adaptation of "Les Miserables." Two years later, he took on the role of physicist Stephen Hawking in "The Theory of Everything." His portrayal earned praised from Hawking himself, though Redmayne still grapples with the idea of being an Oscar winner and a household name after starring in the blockbuster Harry Potter spinoff, "Fantastic Beasts."

For his current role in "The Good Nurse," he got inside the head of real-life serial killer Charles Cullen, a nurse who investigators estimate was responsible for the deaths of around 400 of his patients over the course of 16 years in hospitals across New Jersey and Pennsylvania. His crimes were discovered by a fellow nurse, played by Chastain. Redmayne said that he didn't try method acting in the role, mainly for the sake of his family.

"I have a six-year-old and a four-year-old and for the sake of my wife's sanity, staying in Charlie Cullen would not have been enjoyable for anyone," he laughed.

Redmayne has definitely proved to his parents that as far as a career choice, he made the right decision.

"I love what I do," he said. "And you don't take it for granted, because it's a wonderful existence."

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