Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking will have a movie entitled Theory of Everything released soon that will cover his journey through life. The film is rumored to cover all walks of his journey, from his college days up to and through his greatest discoveries, not all of which were based in math and physics. The actor playing Hawking has felt the weight of the part, calling it a “hefty” challenge from a physical and mental standpoint.
Eddie Redmayne, from Les Miserables fame, will be playing Hawking in the film, and recently got the chance to meet the physicist in person. The physical challenge of the role comes from the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, that slowly deteriorated Hawking over time. “You don’t shoot chronologically,” Redmayne explains, “so it was really about having to really try and chart his physical deterioration.” Redmayne also hopes to achieve the sense of wit and humor a young Hawking had before his disease robbed him of many of those faculties.
The movie itself will not just cover scientific discoveries made by Stephen Hawking, but everything that made him the person he is today. That includes the deep love Stephen and his first wife, Jane, had while both studied at Cambridge University. Jane Hawking, played by Felicity Jones, fell in love with her fellow graduate student, Stephen, only a short time before his diagnosis with A.L.S. in 1963. He was given only two years to live, but their marriage lasted over three children and 30 years until their divorce in 1995. “Our film is about how they defied all the odds,” Redmayne says.
The director of the film, James Marsh, wanted to have a sense of authenticity run throughout, basing many scenes off archival pictures of Hawking on his wedding day and elsewhere. “We tried to reproduce them as best we could,” Marsh says. Redmayne was studious of the photos, noting the smiling faces on Stephen Hawking that revealed just how happy he was at the wedding. Other pieces of the wedding photos were interesting to Redmayne, as they showed that the disease was already pushing him to decline and taking away his ability to stand. Marsh is the Oscar-winning director behind Man on Wire from 2009 and aims to make the most of any footage of Hawking that is “related to our story.”
Stephen Hawking is most well-known for his theories on black holes, which will be covered, but not the main focus of his movie Theory of Everything, as seen in the tagline of the movie “His mind changed our world. Her love changed his.” Even as his disease began taking away function after function, he went on to graduate from Cambridge University and became one of the most recognizable physicists in history. At 72 years of age, he continues to lecture on various topics while traveling with the help of a computer-generated voice program attached to his wheelchair. The movie itself is based on a memoir from 2007 written by the ex-wife of Stephen Hawking, Jane, entitled Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen. The film is set to release on Nov. 11 in theaters everywhere.
By Myles Gann