Eddie Redmayne is expected to play the theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything,” which James Marsh (“Man on Wire,” “Shadow Dancer”) will direct from a script written by the New Zealand novelist-dramatist-filmmaker Andrew McCarten.
The film is being fast-tracked for a fall start by producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner of the British company Working Title, which worked with Redmayne on “Les Misérables.”
As a postgraduate student at Cambridge University in 1963, Hawking was diagnosed with an atypical form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (motor neurone or Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and given two years to live. He is now 71. According to Deadline, “The Theory of Everything” will focus on Hawking’s 1965-91 marriage to Jane Wilde, with whom he has three children.
The 2004 BBC film “Hawking,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Lisa Dillon, follow the couple’s relationship from 1963 to 1965 and enfolds the onset of his illness and his disproving of Sir Fred Hoyle’s version of the Steady State Theory of the cosmological principle in favor of the Big Bang.
Jane Hawking described her early days of the marriage, her role as Hawking’s caregiver, and their parting in her 1999 memoir “Music to Move the Stars,” much criticized for its candor about Hawking’s ego.
Since the publication of this interview with her in The Guardian, which coincided with the BBC film, Hawking’s controversial marriage to one of his nurses, the former Elaine Mason, also ended in divorce amid allegations that she had abused him.
Jane, a linguist and Spanish poetry scholar, has since married the composer and choirmaster Jonathan Hellyer Jones. She and Hawking have resumed a friendly relationship. She visits with him and has written a second memoir, “Traveling to Infinity: My Life With Stephen.” The producers of “The Theory of Everything” are currently seeking an actress to play Jane.
Redmayne is also linked with a role in Thomas Vinterberg’s revisionist version of “Far From the Madding Crowd,” in which Carey Mulligan will play Bathsheba Everdene and Matthias Schoenaerts will play Gabriel Oak. Redmayne would presumably play William Boldwood, the repressed farmer whose passion for Bathsheba is unleashed by the Valentine’s Day card she unwisely sends him. Vinterberg’s approach to Thomas Hardy’s novel, which he has adapted with David Nicholls, will apparently be raw and sexual.