While Benedict Cumberbatch technically beat him to the punch in BBC drama Hawking (2004), it is Eddie Redmayne (Les Miserables) who is garnering the best reviews of his career to date and awards chatter with his performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory Of Everything.
The story follows Hawking (Redmayne) through his formative years, from his first studies and his marriage to Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones) after meeting at Cambridge. When his world was rocked with the first diagnosis of Motor Neuron Disease, they pledge to stay together, even as Hawking throws himself into his work, studying the farthest reaches of time as he explores the origins of the universe.
As his health deteriorates, he and Jane fight the disease as a team, and he manages to successfully complete his thesis. And of course, we know the success he has in later life...
This looks to be an emotionally powerful performance from Redmayne and, given the subject matter, we shouldn't be surprised to see his name mentioned come next years awards season.
Man On Wire (2008) director James Marsh called the shots on this one, based on a script by Anthony McCarten (Death Of A Superhero). With Charlie Cox (Stardust), Emily Watson (The Book Thief), Simon McBurney (Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy) and David Thewlis (War Horse) also in the cast, The Theory Of Everything is due to have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, which kicks off on 4 September, before heading to the UK on 1 January.