It took years for the filmmakers behind “The Theory of Everything” to convince Stephen Hawking and his former wife, Jane, to sign off on a film about their relationship. But once the couple came on board, they quickly became active participants in production.
The theoretical physicist eventually lent props from his office to the film, including his thesis and a medal he was given by the Queen. The Hawkings also came by the set during a ball scene to watch Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones bring their story to life.
“It was quite a lot of pressure for all of us,” Lisa Bruce, the film’s producer, recalled at a recent Envelope Screening Series showing of the film. “But particularly for [the actors] because there’s nothing like having the actual [people] you’re playing standing over there while you’re playing [them]. It was quite intense.”
Stephen Hawking came to observe while a scene involving dramatic fireworks was being filmed, adding flair to his entrance, Redmayne said.
“Stephen arrived with his iconic silhouette – him in his chair, flanked by his nurses – uplit by his computer screen,” said the actor. “There was this extraordinary spotlight on him. And then on cue, the fireworks went off. It was the greatest rock-star entrance I’ve seen in my life.”
For more from Redmayne, Jones, Bruce and producer-writer Anthony McCarten, watch the clip above and go here for other Envelope Screening Series videos.
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