The debut trailer for Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything has hit the web, hinting at a tender celebration of the British theoretical physicist’s academic and personal triumphs in the face of physical adversity.
Directed by James Marsh, the British film-maker behind Man on Wire and Shadow Dancer, the film is due to be screened in the special presentations section at the upcoming Toronto international film festival. It stars Les Miserables’ Eddie Redmayne as Hawking, with Like Crazy’s Felicity Jones as his wife Jane.
Marsh shows us Hawking and Jane’s first encounter at Cambridge University in 1964 and his early academic successes, culminating in a doctorate after he advanced theories about spacetime singularities at the centre of black holes. He is diagnosed with motor neurone disease and told he may have just two years to live.
It is not entirely clear from the trailer which periods the biopic covers, though it appears to run until at least 1985, when the physicist became desperately ill with pneumonia and was given a tracheotomy by doctors to save his life. The trailer shows him hearing his now-famous synthesised voice for the first time, the dramatic moment lightened when Jane expresses alarm that the computer program features an American accent.
The trailer does not touch on Hawking’s later personal travails, which included divorce from Jane in 1995 and a second marriage to his former nurse, Elaine Mason, which also ended in divorce. Cambridge police investigated allegations that the second Mrs Hawking had abused her husband in 2004, but the case was dropped when the scientist issued a statement saying they were false.
An earlier television film about the physicist’s early life, Hawking, starred Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role. It was produced by the BBC and screened on BBC2 in 2004. Last year’s biographical documentary, also titled Hawking, featured Nathan Chapple as the scientist, with Hawking himself discussing his life from childhood, struggle with illness and later worldwide fame.
The Theory of Everything also stars David Thewlis, Emily Watson and Harry Lloyd. It is due in US cinemas on 7 November, timing which suggests an awards-season run, and arrives in the UK on 2 January.
Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones star in film that follows the scientist through university, courtship and the trials of motor neurone disease
theguardian.com, Thursday 7 August 2014 09.43 EDT
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