Eddie Redmayne was inspired to pursue a movie career by Sir Ian McKellen's portrayal of Gandalf.

The Oscar-winning star - who has just been announced as the new Ambassador of the film education charity Into Film - has revealed Sir Ian's performance in the 'Hobbit' movies represents a major landmark in his own life.

Eddie - who attended Eton College as a child - shared: ''When I heard about Into Film, one of the things that I thought was so extraordinary was how little of that I had when I went to school.

''I went to probably the most privileged school in the country, and there, somehow because our country - because of Shakespeare - we have this extraordinary theatre legacy and we all feel like it's very important and wonderful - and it is.

''But what I found is that I got into Shakespeare when I saw a film version of it with Gandalf playing Richard III, and that was when I first got really interested in theatre and in film.''

And Eddie, 33, said he is looking forward to inspiring the next generation of filmmakers.

He said: ''My life is film, but it wasn't when I was a kid. My family weren't massively into film, I didn't see a huge amount myself when I was at school - theatre was the thing.

''I always thought that film was entertainment, it wasn't something you could learn from and my God, I was mistaken.

''So since then I've been trying to up my film literacy and it's been an extraordinary adventure and it continues to be. ''Often with film we love watching it because it's immersive and it's entertaining ... but if you look a bit harder and you ask the questions after, it can be so inspiring. It's an amazing time to be supporting Into Film.''