Theory of Everything is a 2014 British-produced biographical romantic
drama film, directed by James Marsh. It was adapted by Anthony McCarten
from the memoir 'Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen' by Jane
Wilde Hawking, which deals with her relationship with her ex-husband,
theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, his diagnosis of motor neuron disease,
and his success in physics.
The film stars
Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones with Charlie Cox, Emily Watson, Simon
McBurney, Christian McKay, and David Thewlis featured in supporting roles.
The film had its world premiere at the 2014 Toronto International Film
Festival on 7 September 2014.
film opened to a positive reception worldwide and was nominated for a
variety of accolades in award shows and film festivals.
his performance as Stephen Hawking, Eddie Redmayne won several awards
and nominations including the 2015 Academy Award for Best Actor.
Theory of Everything received four 2015 Golden Globe Award nominations,
winning the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
for Redmayne and Best Original Score for Jóhannsson.
It received three 21st Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations, winning
one for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a
Male Actor in a Leading Role for Redmayne.
Theory of Everything received 10 nominations for the British Academy
Film Awards (BAFTA), and went on to win three: Outstanding British Film,
Best Leading Actor (for Redmayne) and Best Adapted Screenplay (for McCarten).
Screenwriter Anthony McCarten had been interested in Hawking since
reading his seminal book 'A Brief History of Time' in 1988. In 2004,
McCarten read Jane Hawking's memoir 'Travelling to Infinity: My
Life with Stephen', and subsequently began writing a screenplay
adaptation of the book with no guarantees in place. He met numerous
times with Jane at her home to discuss the project. After multiple
drafts, he was introduced in 2009 to producer Lisa Bruce via their
mutual ICM agent, Craig Bernstein.
spent three years with McCarten further convincing Jane Hawking
to agree to a film adaptation of her book, with Bruce stating, "It
was a lot of conversation, many glasses of sherry, and many pots
18 April 2013, James Marsh was confirmed to direct the film with
the shooting being based in Cambridge and at other locations in
the United Kingdom, with Eddie Redmayne courted to fill the male
lead. On 23 June 2013, it was revealed that Felicity Jones was confirmed
to play the film's female lead role opposite Redmayne. On 8 October
2013, it was confirmed that Emily Watson and David Thewlis had joined
the cast, and that Working Title's Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa
Bruce, and Anthony McCarten would be producing the piece.
Marsh had studied archival images to give the film its authenticity,
stating, "When we had photographs and documentary footage of
Stephen that related to our story, we tried to reproduce them as
best we could."
met with Hawking himself, commenting, "Even now, when he's
unable to move, you can still see such effervescence in his eyes."
He described portraying Hawking on-screen as a 'hefty' challenge,
adding that, "The real problem with making a film is of course
you don’t shoot chronologically. So it was about having to
really try and chart his physical deterioration [so] you can jump
into it day-to-day, whilst at the same time keeping this spark and
wit and humour that he has."
spent six months researching Hawking's life, watching every piece
of interview footage he could find of him. Marsh stated that what
Redmayne had to do was not easy. "He had to take on enormous
amounts of difficult preparation as well as embracing the difficult
physicality of the role. It's not just doing a disability. It's
actually charting the course of an illness that erodes the body,
and the mind has to project out from that erosion," he said.
He added that Hawking gave him his blessing and also revealed that,
"[Hawking's] response was very positive, so much so that he
offered to lend his voice, the real voice that he uses. The voice
you hear in the latter part of the story is in fact Stephen's actual
electronic voice as he uses it". It was revealed to the Toronto
International Film Festival audience that as the lights came up
at a recent screening, a nurse had wiped a tear from Hawking's cheek.
Hawking, speaking on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour, spoke of meeting
Jones several times while Jones prepared for the role. When she
saw the finished film, she was amazed to see that Jones had incorporated
her mannerisms and speech patterns into her performance.
Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking
Felicity Jones as Jane Wilde Hawking
Charlie Cox as Jonathan Jones, Jane's second husband
Emily Watson as Beryl Wilde, Jane's mother
Simon McBurney as Frank Hawking, Stephen's father
David Thewlis as Dennis Sciama
Maxine Peake as Elaine Mason, Stephen's second wife
Harry Lloyd as Brian, Hawking’s roommate
Guy Oliver-Watts as George Wilde, Jane's father
Abigail Cruttenden as Isobel Hawking, Stephen's mother
Charlotte Hope as Phillipa Hawking, Stephen's sister
Lucy Chappell as Mary Hawking, Stephen's sister
Christian McKay as Roger Penrose
Enzo Cilenti as Kip Thorne
Georg Nikoloff as Isaak Markovich Khalatnikov
Alice Orr-Ewing as Diana King, sister of Basil King, Stephen's friend
Stephen Hawking provides his own computerised voice
Nicola Victoria Buck as Cockroft guest 2
Frank Leboeuf as Swiss doctor
8 October 2013, principal photography had begun, with the shooting
being based in Cambridge and at other locations in the United Kingdom.
to the start of principal photography, Working Title had begun shooting
on the lawn in front of the New Court building from 23 September
2013 to 27 September 2013; they filmed the Cambridge May Ball scene,
set in 1963. On 24 September 2013, scenes were filmed at St John’s
College, The Backs in Queen’s Road and Queen’s Green.
The New Court lawn and Kitchen Bridge were included features in
the filming location. The May Ball scene was the last of the outside
shoots, with filming in a lecture theatre the following day and
the remaining filming completed in the studio over the final five
weeks of production.
pyrotechnic specialists Titanium Fireworks, who developed the displays
for the London 2012 Olympic Games, provided three identical firework
displays for the May Ball scene.
Composer Jóhann Jóhannsson scored The Theory of
score in the film has been described as including "[Jóhannsson's]
signature blend of acoustic instruments and electronics."
commented that "it always involves the layers of live recordings,
whether it's orchestra or a band or solo instrument, with electronics
and more soundscape-y elements which can come from various sources".
soundtrack was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London.