Exclusive BELLO Mag Interview With Eddie Redmayne & Felicity Jones ‘The Theory Of Everything’

For their incredible performances as Stephen and Jane Hawking in James Marsh’s The Theory Of Everything, actors, Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones radically transformed themselves into the Cambridge astrophysicist and his formidable wife. Here, the talented Brits discuss not only how they pulled off such a remarkable feat, but why they were absolutely compelled to do so… Fortunately, I could still hear them amidst the deafening roar of Oscar Buzz.

By Brad Liberty

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Eddie on preparing for the physical demands of the role…

“I spent four months in an ALS clinic in London and had a meeting with a specialist there who introduced me to people suffering from this brutal disease and their families. Many of them invited me to their homes so I got to see not only the physical effects but the emotional effects it has on families. Then I decided to work with a dancer to try to find that physicality in me.”

On the cerebral nature of Hawking’s work…

Redmayne: “I would speak to one of (Stephen’s) old students who would talk to me about the intricacies of string theory. I would say, Imagine I am seven-years-old. Explain to me what an atom is…”

Eddie on Stephen…

“It was scary because I was only meeting him four or five days before I started filming. It was like meeting a complete rock star and I got completely tongue-tied. It takes him a while to speak now so there were lots of pauses and I hate silence so I basically spewed forth the information about Stephen Hawking to Stephen Hawking. It was pretty embarrassing. (But) he was wonderful. He was funny; he has a razor wit, this kind of mischievous glint, but also great power. He really does control the room.”

Felicity on Jane…

“I was nervous meeting Jane because she is formidable. (There’s) something a bit like (an) army general about her. She manages to command a room in this very sort of polite way and with a very light touch.”

An unlikely partnership…

Jones: “The film is about two very passionate people who are not saints. Both of them are willful and very determined, but trying to have a relationship in those circumstances.”

The Hawkings on set…

Jones: “I think it was the third day of shooting and I could see Stephen out of the corner of one eye and then Jane out the corner of the other- that was quite strange. Jane was one of the supporting artists in the scene and actually there was one point when she rushed up to Eddie and she sort of redid his hair and was like, Stephen’s hair was not like that! But we just went with it. I like the hands on approach.”

Charting the course of Stephen’s ALS on film…

Redmayne: “There is no documentary material of Stephen before the 80’s, before he is in the chair. Working out what his progression was to the chair was complicated. I basically took all the photos I could get my hands on and showed them to a specialist: Dr. Sidle. She would say, from that wedding photo you can see that his hand is on top of Jane’s hand and its wilted so by this year that was gone. So I then did a chart on a couple of pages of every muscle and where it went, where he was vocally, whether he was on one stick, two sticks or which wheel chair he was in.”

Felicity on her harmonious collaboration with Redmayne…

“We’re lucky; we just have really similar ways of working. We both like doing lots of takes. I think we both can be quite self-conscious so we feel like rehearsal is really good because you can make a fool of yourself and make mistakes before you get to doing it (in front) of a camera. And we both like to take ownership over (our) roles.”

Eddie on Awards-talk…

“Ultimately you knew (Stephen and Jane) were going to see (the film). That was why the stakes were so high for us. I care about them and I care about their story. The lovely reaction in Toronto has subsequently made us feel great because, of course you want to do your best, (and) I hope it encourages people to go see it. But we really don’t think in those terms.”

The Theory Of Everything

About The Author

Hiko Mitsuzuka
Entertainment Editor-at-Large

Hiko Mitsuzuka is a self-proclaimed pop culture connoisseur who resides in L.A. and obsesses over songs months before everyone else obsesses over them. He has worked in TV and commercial production ever since he left his native New York in the early 00s. He has worked at the world-renowned Anonymous Content and Carsey-Werner and freelanced as a treatment writer for award-winning directors as well as a contributing writer for 'Instinct.' In addition to writing about entertainment and travel for 'Bello,' Hiko can currently be seen in the roles of Manager of Creative Planning at Stun Creative (PromaxBDA's North America Agency of the Year, 2013, 2014, 2017), film critic for ScreenPicks.com, and contributor for The Huffington Post. He's also currently working on the novel 'Slasher Movie Girl.' His obsessions include quoting old sitcom dialogue and stalking people on Instagram. His vices include chocolate chip cookies and movie theater popcorn. Tweet him @TheFirstEcho.

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