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Eddie Redmayne looks back on Savage Grace with Julianne Moore

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IFC Films; Courtesy Everett Collection

Nearly a decade before he was winning an Oscar or stepping into the world of Harry Potter, Eddie Redmayne was a struggling actor whose big film break included incest, murder, and Julianne Moore.

Ahead of the Nov. 18 release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Redmayne sat down with PEOPLE and EW editorial director Jess Cagle, where the topics discussed included Savage Grace, one of the actor’s earliest film roles.

“Intense, one way to say it,” he described the 2007 film from Tom Kalin. “It did involve a bit of incest. A little murder.”

The film told the story of heiress and socialite Barbara Daly Baekeland (Moore) and her allegedly incestuous relationship with her gay son (Redmayne), who eventually murdered his mother.

Despite the heavy material, Redmayne distinctively recalls how his fellow 2015 Oscar winner would keep the mood light while filming.

“What’s amazing about Julianne is she is so funny and so she’s not one of those actors that like takes themselves into a room and gets into a zone,” he explained. “She’s talking to you… I remember a talk show host in the U.K. called Jonathan Ross and we were about to do like the most intense sort of hardcore murder scene and she was talking about Jonathan Ross. You could see Tom, the director, sort of over there going, ‘When do I call action?’ He would call action and she would just go straight into the scene and I would be going… still sort of talking about Jonathan Ross. I’d be like, ‘Oh, no, no, no, no.’ So she made it very easy, actually.”

Watch this full episode of The Jess Cagle Interview, available now, on the new People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to PEOPLE.com/PEN, or download the PEN app on Apple TV, Roku Players, Amazon Fire TV, Xumo, Chromecast, iOS and Android devices.

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