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.
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.
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.
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.