Eddie Redmayne has been open about the challenge he faced in the film 'The Theory of Everything' - that of portraying Professor Stephen Hawking all the way through from his years as a prodigious university student to worldwide fame as one of the biggest brains we have in the universe.
Eddie Redmayne won an Oscar for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking, while co-star Felicity Jones was also nominated
It was one he not just took on, but mastered, with his efforts winning him a BAFTA, a Golden Globe and ultimately the Oscar for Best Actor at this year's Academy Awards. And he used the occasion to thank the family of the man he portrayed, a man he says has inspired him with his positive thinking, his determination and spirit, despite being severely handicapped since he was afflicted with motor neurone disease in his early twenties.
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Now, to mark the home release of the Award-winning film by James Marsh, which also garnered an Oscar nomination for Eddie's co-star Felicity Jones as Stephen's tireless wife Jane, we ask the Professor himself for his own, very personal reaction to seeing himself on screen...
Q: You’re used to being in the public eye but a movie of your life is a very personal thing – what was your reaction on learning about it?
A: I was rather surprised that a major film company should want to make a film about me. At first, I was worried because it was based on a book by my ex-wife, Jane, but I was reassured when I read the script, and even more when I saw a first cut of the film.
It was surprisingly honest about our marriage, and my fight with ALS, or motor neurone disease
Q: Give us your thoughts on Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of you.
A: I thought Eddie Redmayne portrayed me very well. He spent time with ALS sufferers so he could be authentic. At times, I thought he was me.
Q: How did Felicity fare as Jane?
A: Felicity made a very charming Jane.
Q: Your overall impression of the film?
A: To my surprise, I was very impressed by the film and by Eddie’s commitment.
Eddie was intimidated, but Stephen Hawking reveals he was impressed by the actor's performance
Q: Do you understand people’s interests in your story?
A: It’s a human interest story, success against the odds. It shows that disability can be no handicap.
Q: What did you think of Anthony’s script?
A: I liked the script. It reflects our struggle to bring up three children in normality, despite my disability. But that placed a great strain on our marriage.
Q: Is filmmaking a process you know much about or are interested in?
A: I’m very interested in film making. It’s telling a story, fiction or non-fiction. I have been filmed quite a lot. Contrary to popular belief, filming isn’t glamorous. It can be wearingly repetitious, as the same shot is taken over and over again.
Q: Did you visit the set? How did it strike you?
A: I visited during the May Ball scene. It was spectacular, especially the fireworks.
Q: What was your reaction on seeing the film itself?
A: A friend who saw the trailer, said it made her cry. I think the film will have a big emotional impact.
'The Theory of Everything' is available on DVD and Blu-Ray from Monday 11 May. Watch the trailer below...