Eddie Redmayne On Playing Stephen Hawking: ‘It’s A Bit Like Training For A Marathon’

Eddie Redmayne

Eddie Redmayne had to go through a lot of physical training in order to play the role of Stephen Hawking in the highly-anticipated film, The Theory of Everything.

At the film’s premiere in New York City on Monday night, Redmayne stated in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that preparing for this role was “a bit like training for a marathon.”

The film captures each stage of Stephen Hawking’s degeneration process – from long before he started showing symptoms up to his confinement to a wheelchair and his inability to speak. Therefore, Redmayne needed to gain a very high level of physical control over his own body in order to pull off this performance successfully and respectfully – especially in the eyes of Stephen Hawking himself.

According to the interview, Redmayne trained with a dancer for several months, “trying to teach [his] body to do things they’re not used to doing.”

The physical demands of playing Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything were raised even higher once filming started simply because the scenes were not shot in order.

Eddie Redmayne stated that, to stay on top of his performances each day, he developed a helpful chart to keep him on track.

“I ended up literally doing a chart of every muscle that was going and where the voice was, things like whether he was on one stick, two sticks, which chair he was in, what glasses he was wearing, so I would have a way to jump in and out.”

It is clear that Eddie Redmayne worked very hard to capture the physical side of Stephen Hawking in his performance. However, Redmayne stated that the physical side was not the “overriding thing” that he noticed when he first met Stephen. It was actually his wit!

“The overriding thing when you meet him is this wit. There’s a glint in his eye, a mischief or a Lord of Misrule quality, which is extraordinary. That’s the one thing I tried to capture.”

According to Entertainment Weekly, Eddie Redmayne had a chance to reflect on some of the physical discomfort that he experienced in addition to his respect for people that suffer from ALS in real-life.

“Stephen speaks a lot from [the right] side of his face, and throughout the film, I basically got stronger muscles [there], and Jan, our amazing makeup designer took notice. It was all quite uncomfortable—but at the end of the day, I could get up, and so many of the [ALS patients] who let us into their lives can’t.”

The Theory of Everything, starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones as Stephen and Jane Hawking premieres in theaters in the U.S. on November 7 and in the UK on January 2, 2015.

[Image Credit: Pop Sugar]