updated 12/06/2012 AT 2:00 PM ET
•originally published 12/07/2012 AT 10:15 AM ET
Eddie Redmayne, breakout star of Les Miserables, is receiving awards buzz as the student French revolutionary Marius, who falls in love with Cosette, played by Amanda Seyfried.
Redmayne, who also played Michelle Williams’s love interest in My Week with Marilyn, is enjoying a booming career. But you’d never know that the 30-year-old Brit has Kim Cattrall to thank for his success, or that he was destined for a role in Les Mis as a child. P.S.: Redmayne’s also won a Tony and an Olivier Award for the play Red.
Here are five things you should know about Redmayne:
Kim Cattrall’s approval was pivotal: “I did a play in London called The Goat,” he recalls. “I won a prize, and I couldn’t go be there, but my parents went, and Kim Cattrall gave the prize. When my dad saw that Samantha from Sex and the City was giving me a prize, then it affirmed in my parents’ mind that they were allowed to let their son continue to be an actor.”
In fact, the two stars didn’t meet until years later, but Cattrall is anxious to see his latest turn: “In 2005 I had the honor of presenting him the Ian Charlston Award as ‘the most promising newcomer’ at the Evening Standard Awards in the U.K.,” she told PEOPLE Thursday. “Unfortunately he was away working, but I did meet him a few years later and he told me his father was impressed he won the award but over the moon I was presenting. I have followed his career ever since and cannot wait to see him in Les Miserables.”
His first Les Mis experience: “I saw it when I was 7 and wanted to be Gavroche, [the young street urchin who helps the rebels].”
His ‘oh s–––’ moment on set: “We were lying in the sewers half dead, swimming in s–––, and you’re actually lying there for 12 hours. We’re doing a close-up, and [director Tom Hooper] is saying, Hugh, Eddie, you need to be still. Or it doesn’t look like you’re dead.’ We’re like, Dude! We can’t control our bodily functions.’”
Be careful going to karaoke with him: “My karaoke song of choice is "Bat Out of Hell". About three minutes in to the 12-minute song, I keep getting, ‘Shut up!’”