On Oct. 20, we were on the red carpet for the New York premiere of Focus Features’ latest film “The Theory of Everything,” at MoMA. Notables in attendance included director James Marsh, screenwriter/producer Anthony McCarten, producers Lisa Bruce and Eric Fellner, director of photography Benoît Delhomme, NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer, Focus Features CEO Peter Schlessel, and cast Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones and Charlie Cox.
The film tells the extraordinary story of one of the world’s greatest living minds, the renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, who falls deeply in love with Jane Wilde. Together, they defy impossible odds, breaking new ground in medicine and science. The film is based on Jane Hawking’s memoir “Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen.” Read our exlusive red carpet interviews below:
Eddie Redmayne wore Gucci Fall Winter 2014-2015 look 18 dark blue stretch velvet notch lapel two-button Dylan suit with leather detail with a white dress shirt, grey knit tie and black leather lace up shoes to the screening. Read what he told us on the red carpet.
Stephen recently said that he tried to commit suicide at one point. Did you know this when you worked on the film?
Eddie Redmayne: No, I didn’t know that when I was preparing for it. But I can absolutely understand. There are a lot of the people I met who have ALS, have thought the same. It’s this idea, someone described it as being a disease in which you are living in a prison, and the cell walls get smaller every day. And your mind is still entirely functioning. I can’t even imagine what that’s like to go through. So I’m certainly not one to judge.
How did you tackle the process of aging? You were incredible.
Eddie Redmayne: You know what? I just looked at a load of photographs and I was working with a brilliant dancer to help me with the physicality, but also with an amazing make up designer called Jan Sewell, and we were trying to play with proportion, and costume proportion and various things like wigs, hair, color, and all of that stuff to try and make that progress without you really noticing it. So thank you for being kind about it.
You said that you worked with a dancer, how did you use the dancer?
Eddie Redmayne: So for me, I was playing Stephen in various physicalities over long period of time but when you are shooting a film, you don’t shoot chronologically, so within the same day you have to jump into different physicalities … and my thought was I need to learn these physicalities like dance. I need to be so comfortable in them. I need to teach these muscles that I’m not used to doing this, to do this. So when I come to playing with Felicity or Charlie, you’re not playing a physicality or disease, but you’re playing a true human story and that was the plan anyways, so I did it for work, but it was fun.
Star Felicity Jones looked beautiful in a black Elie Saab number. Read what she told us on the red carpet.
What was your favorite part of working on this movie?
Felicity Jones: My favorite part was working with Eddie and James. I just had such a wonderful experience, it felt like you could be free to make mistakes. To do lots of takes which I loved doing and James didn’t get annoyed at that. He really let us try things out and experiment and feel safe in doing them.
If you could play another real woman, who would it be?
Felicity Jones: Marie Curie is very interesting. I’d love to play another real-life interesting female character as I have done in this one.
Can you speak about the process of aging for the film?
Felicity Jones: I worked with a movement coach, we spent time working on how your body shifts, how your posture changes as you get older. Also, with hair, makeup and costume, we were very keen to show that progression through those departments. Steven Noble costume designer, and my make up artist, it was very much a collaborative process.
We also grabbed a word with Charlie Cox, who stars in the film.
You have some pretty amazing scenes wih Felicity. Can you speak about that?
Charlie Cox: Yeah, I’ve admired Felicity’s work for a long time. When I first saw “Like Crazy,” I was really moved by her honesty. That’s about as natural a performance that you’ll ever see. And when I heard she was playing Jane Hawking, it intrigued me, and I thought that would be very very keen to see. That’s maybe a little bit going against the grain and a really brave choice. And she did everything that I hoped she would do. She brought herself to it, she found all the Jane spirit, and the Jane energy, and yet her vulnerability was always present and I think she is one of our great British actresses.
Benoît Delhomme did the cinematography for the film. Read what he told us exclusively:
So tell me, how did you get involved with the film?
I got the script. When I read it, I remember I was in my bed, one morning, very early, and I read this in one go. I cried at the end for half an hour and I said “Ok, I need to make this film.” It’s so important to tell this story about this man. It’s so full of hope and energy. I said, I have to make it.
Tell me about you vision for it?
My vision was to make this quite bright and light with very strong colors. I wanted this film to be a melo-drama, you know? But also, I wanted people to feel emotion. And I wanted the light to reflect the emotion of every scene. And after that it could go quite bold, and fireworks sometimes light and colors. And not at all what you can imagine of a film shot in England and rainy weather. I wanted the theme to be sunny. And I wanted the sun to go on Stephen’s face.
Speak about working with James, the director.
He’s a wonderful man. And from the beginning, he said to me, “Please Benoit, tell me all your ideas for a scene. If you think it can be better, visually, please always tell me.” And it is very rare to get a director like this. I think it was an incredible introduction and this is how we worked. He would always come to me and say Benoit, what do you think? Is this the best way to make the scene? And we would always discuss. It was an incredible, collaborative process.
Speak about working with Eddie and Felicity.
They are incredible actors. Both of them. Eddie of course, from the beginning, we knew it was a big challenge for him to look like Stephen and go through it with the girl. And the disease going through his body. He did some incredible work, physically. With physical training, we did film tests, and the first film test we did, was nearly perfect. So I said, “Ok, the smile was perfect, the look was perfect, the way he moved his face was incredible.” We knew we got it. So after we just did small adjustments along the film but not much honestly. He got it from the first time right.
Producer Lisa Bruce shared why she got involved with the project.
Tell me why this was an important story for you to be part of?
I think because it’s rare in a movie these days to have the female lead be as important as a male lead. And they substantially hold each other up all the way through the movie in different ways. Obviously the female character Jane, starts to rise up and become the pillar and support for Stephen as he becomes more and more debilitated and ultimately he is moving more towards an infant stage. And I think that’s just a beautiful love story because you have to truly be in love and love somebody to be able to accomplish something like that, to be able to climb that mountain. And I think that’s just a rare movie to tell and I also think it’s very rare today to just have a pure love story. And this is a pure love story.
Michael Massimino, a former NASA astronaut and professor at Columbia University, came to show his support.
What brings you to the premiere?
These types of movies appeal to lots of people. So I think it’s going to get a lot of people interested in physics and what Dr. Hawking did. And not because that’s what the movie’s about, the movie’s about his incredible life … But I think people learn about his life and become more interested in not only his life and the story of inspiration but also maybe learning something a little bit different. So that’s why I like these movies.
Tell me a little bit about your career?
I’m a mechanical engineer more or less. I’m an engineer, I studied physics and I worked on the hubble space telescope as an astronaut. My space flights were to space walk on the hubble space telescope to develop this great instrument, to help repair this great instrument, to keep it going. So that physicists and astronomers like Dr. Hawking and could make their discoveries. For me, I admire what they did, and they give us the reason to go to space, so we could provide them with tools they need to make their discoveries.
Following the screening everyone gathered at the after party at The Wayfarer to celebrate Eddie, Felicity, James and the film. The film opens in select cities on Nov. 7, and expands on Nov. 14.