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How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking

How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking

Editor’s Note: This post is presented in partnership with Time Warner Cable Movies On Demand. Catch up on this year’s Awards Season contenders right now On Demand, including today’s pick, “The Danish Girl.” 

Eddie Redmayne’s astonishing performance as famed scientist Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything” has been earning him awards buzz ever since the film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. Redmayne, who began his career in theater, is most likely best known for playing the dashing young Marius in 2012’s musical “Les Miserables.” But since transforming himself into the ALS-afflicted Hawking through a grueling four-month process, Redmayne’s star has been rising, and with good reason. The performance, absent of caricature, is indeed one of the best of the year.

As Redmayne expresses in this first clip, people naturally think they know who the real Stephen Hawking is, having seen him on television or heard his iconic, electronic voice, but as Redmayne discovered, there is a lot more to Hawking’s younger life than anyone realized.

As one would imagine, the physical requirements of portraying the progression of Hawking’s Motor Neuron Disease/ALS were quite demanding. Redmayne worked with a team of specialists, including a dancer, to map out the various stages of Hawking’s physical decline that he was required to express.

Many people not in the industry might assume that actors of such caliber as Redmayne may have their pick of the litter when it comes to choosing great roles such as his in “The Theory of Everything,” but as Redmayne points out in this next clip, those roles, and fabulous co-workers, aren’t always easy to come by.

By playing characters based on people that are still alive, Redmayne and co-star Felicity Jones not only had to do intense research into their lives, but also had the opportunity to play detective. When portraying a real person, there is the daunting task of getting it right, but Redmayne, Jones and director James Marsh also considered it a blessing to be able to dig further if they needed to.

READ MORE: Stephen Hawking Praises Eddie Redmayne’s Portrayal in ‘The Theory of Everything’

Editor’s Note: This feature was originally published on December 24, 2014.

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