The chal­lenge of play­ing one of our most bril­liant in­tel­lects has Ed­die Red­mayne in the run­ning for a Best Ac­tor gong at the Os­cars

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES - CARIS BIZ­ZACA

Dr Stephen Hawk­ing sure knows how to make an en­trance. Ed­die Red­mayne dis­cov­ered as much while por­tray­ing the bril­liant as­tro­physi­cist in The The­ory of Ev­ery­thing, a role that’s just earned him a Best Ac­tor nod at the Os­cars.

It was their sec­ond or third day of film­ing and they were recre­at­ing the Cam­bridge Univer­sity May Ball in the ’60s, an out­door black tie event that a young Stephen at­tended with his then-girl­friend Jane Wilde (played by Felic­ity Jones).

It all con­cludes with a spec­tac­u­lar round of fire­works, which the film­mak­ers had to cap­ture in just three takes.

“And on cue, Stephen ar­rived, flanked by his nurses, up­lit like a spot­light from his com­puter screen and as he ar­rived, the fire­works went off,” says Red­mayne.

“I can only de­scribe it as the great­est rock star en­trance I’ve ever seen in my life.

“He lit­er­ally had a fire­works dis­play go off be­hind him.”

Part biopic, part love story, The The­ory of Ev­ery­thing fol­lows Hawk­ing from his healthy, ac­tive univer­sity days, where he falls for fel­low stu­dent Jane, through to his life-shat­ter­ing di­ag­no­sis of mo­tor neu­rone dis­ease (MND) at 21, and his wheelchair­bound adult years.

De­spite orig­i­nally be­ing told he had just years to live, Hawk­ing is still very much alive, hav­ing just cel­e­brated his 73rd birth­day, been mar­ried twice, had three chil­dren and pub­lished the best-sell­ing book The Brief His­tory of Time.

And as The The­ory of Ev­ery­thing shows, his body may have phys­i­cally de­gen­er­ated but his mind is as cu­ri­ous, imag­i­na­tive and strong as ever. But it was no easy task to recre­ate Hawk­ing’s bat­tle with the dis­ease.

Red­mayne trained with a dancer to con­di­tion his mus­cles, so he could hold po­si­tions for long pe­ri­ods of time.

“Also be­cause I knew we weren’t go­ing to be shoot­ing chrono­log­i­cally, so we’d be jumping in and out of dif­fer­ent phys­i­cal­i­ties.”

In fact, on the first day of shoot­ing, Red­mayne spent the morn­ing shoot­ing scenes as a young Hawk­ing, hold­ing hands with Jane and spin­ning around in cir­cles.

“Then at lunch time, I was play­ing Stephen on two walk­ing sticks and then in the af­ter­noon I was in the sec­ond wheel­chair. So the first day was quite a trial by fire and it re­mained like that,” he says.

But he says it just made him feel all the more con­scious of his own health.

“You were con­stantly aware of how lucky you were.”

Ed­die Red­mayne stars as Stephen Hawk­ing in

The The­ory of Ev­ery­thing.

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