As a student at Cambridge, Eddie Redmayne had seen Professor Stephen Hawking across campus occasionally. Years later, he was starstruck to meet him and have the privilege of portraying him in The Theory of Everything. Eddie and Felicity Jones, playing Hawking’s first wife, Jane Wilde, met Hawking and Wilde several times before making the film.
The film was based on Wilde’s book, Travelling to Infinity: My Life With Stephen. Shortly after meeting as students at Cambridge, Stephen was diagnosed with a motor neuron disease (one of which is ALS), with a life expectancy of two years. They refused to believe it. They became engaged. He said it gave him something to live for. They married and had three children.
Redmayne shows a Hawking who smiles as he fights. He needs crutches. He needs a wheelchair. He can’t write. He can’t speak.
It’s only his body that’s betraying him. Nothing and no one approaches his mind.
After 30 years, Jane has become a caretaker and left behind her studies in the arts. Her outlet is her choir – and her choirmaster, with whom she falls in love. And Stephen has fallen in love with his nurse. Jane marries the choirmaster, and Stephen marries the nurse.
Stephen’s second marriage ended in 2006, and he and Jane became closer, enjoying their children and grandchildren. They were on hand with Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones at the UK premiere of the film.
There’s an enormous Oscar buzz. The movie meets some predictable Oscar criteria:
It’s about a real person: Ray. Milk. The Iron Lady. Capote. Lincoln.
It’s about someone afflicted: Charly. My Left Foot. Shine. Rain Man.
An actor looks, well, unattractive: Raging Bull. Monster’s Ball. Syriana. Monster. American Hustle.
And the Academy likes to be highbrow. Just my theories, but they’ve often proved true.