James Marsh’s Stephen Hawking biopic, The Theory of Everything, made its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival this week and has earned high praise, including some from Hawking himself. The brilliant cosmologist and theoretical physicist saw a sneak preview of the film before its TIFF screening and was moved to tears by the time the credits rolled. When you move your subject to tears of joy, it’s safe to assume you’ve done a pretty good job with your biography.
The revelation came about during a Q&A session after the screening. Website Outer Places has shared some of the best moments from the chat, which found star Eddie Redmayne being charming and self-deprecating as he revealed what it was like to play one of the most intelligent men to ever walk the Earth.
Redmayne told those in attendance that he spent six months prepping for the role, studying Hawking’s life story, meeting with ALS patients to better portray his subject’s battle with motor-neurone disease, and even working with a choreographer to figure out how to best recreate the Hawking’s physical decline over the years. See Redmayne in the role in the trailer below...
Still, despite all the prep, Eddie Redmayne reveals the author of A Brief History of Time wasn’t exactly blown away by him when they first met. The My Week With Marilyn star told audience members that he was nervous and came down with a case of "verbal diarrhea" when first introduced to Hawking – regaling the scientist with the fact that they both shared the same astrological sign. Hawking’s deadpan response? "I’m an astronomer, not an astrologer."
Marsh’s film has just debuted, but it’s already generating serious awards buzz, particularly for stars Redmayne and The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s Felicity Jones. Jones plays Hawking’s first wife, Jane in the feature, which chronicles Hawking’s early life, his time at Cambridge, and the romance between the duo. The script was inspired by Jane Hawking’s memoir, Travelling to Infinity: My Life With Stephen.
Stephen Hawking didn’t make it to the Toronto screening – apparently he was too busy figuring out that the Higgs-Boson particle could eventually destroy the very fabric of time and space – but he’s reportedly happy with the end result of The Theory of Everything, saying that the film is "broadly true". That’s no small accomplishment for a biopic. The scientist even had some involvement with the production, allowing them to use his instantly recognizable voice synthesizer during filming to help make the story seem more real. If the early buzz is any indication, it appears things worked out.
The Theory of Everything is set for wide release on November 7th.