Eddie Redmayne was shocked and thrilled to take home the best actor Oscar on Sunday — beating out “Birdman” favourite Michael Keaton— for his role portraying Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything.”
But playing the part of the famed cosmologist came with a lot of pressure.
Hawking himself, now 73, would be judging the 32-year-old actor’s performance.
Hawking trekked to London to screen the film ahead of its November 7th release. Before watching the movie, Redmayne told Variety the cosmologist warned: “I’ll let you know what I think — good or otherwise.’ I said, ‘Stephen, if it’s otherwise, you don’t need to go into details.'”
When the film screening was complete, Hawking was overcome with emotion (via Variety):
After the lights came up, a nurse wiped a tear from Hawking’s eye. He called the film ‘broadly true,’ and even celebrated with the film’s director James Marsh and screenwriter Anthony McCarten at a bar where he sipped champagne from a teaspoon. ‘He emailed us,’ Marsh says, ‘and said there were certain points when he thought he was watching himself.’
Hawking was so happy with the movie that he told filmmakers he would allow them to swap the synthetic voice they had been forced to create and replace it with his own, trademarked computerized version. “We spent a lot of time and money trying to reproduce the voice, but we never got it,” McCarten told Variety.
Redmayne was thrilled after he heard about Hawking’s offer, believing it was a stamp of approval on a performance he still questioned.
“You’re just hoping to get there,” Redmayne said. “Yet there’s this constant frustration — it’s always underwhelming, because you never quite make it. But with his specific voice, it’s an actor’s dream. You’re one step closer to the truth.”
After Redmayne won the Oscar on Sunday, Hawking posted his congratulations to Facebook (with an impressive Like count):
Redmayne acknowledged Hawking and his family during his acceptance speech:
Thank you. I don’t think I’m capable of articulating quite how I feel right now. I’m fully aware that I am a lucky, lucky man. This Oscar belongs to all of those people around the world battling ALS. It belongs to one exceptional family — Stephen, Jane and the Hawking children. I will be his custodian. I will be at his beck and call. I wait on him hand and foot.
Watch the trailer below:
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