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Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones answer balloon questions

Predicting weather by the hour? The idea would have gotten one laughed out of the room 150 years ago.

This weekend, “The Aeronauts,” (in limited theaters Friday and streaming on Amazon Prime Dec. 20) is sending audiences back to the mid-19th century, when the idea of weather forecasting as knee-slapping as Elf on a Shelf. In the new film Eddie Redmayne plays budding meteorologist James Glaisher to Felicity Jones’ fictional balloon pilot Amelia Wren, with the two re-teaming after 2014’s “The Theory of Everything” (which earned Redmayne an Oscar for portraying Stephen Hawking and Jones a best-actress nomination).

This time, the English duo are sky-bound on a scientific mission into oxygen-deprived levels of the atmosphere – until their expedition turns into a fight for their lives.

As Amazon Prime launches a six-city “Aeronauts” fan experience in support of the semi-biographical drama Redmayne, 37, and Jones, 36, answer our burning balloon questions.


Were the actors really in a hot air balloon for the movie?

Actually, it was a gas balloon. While a bulk of “Aeronaut” scenes were shot in a studio against green screens, production designers created a replica of a giant 19th century balloon, and Redmayne and Jones ascended 8,000 feet while being filmed by a helicopter and drones. “It was actually quite breathtaking when you do it and very quiet,” says Jones. “It’s not like a traditional hot air balloon where you have the flames.”

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