Behind the Scenes on The Theory of Everything

The buzzy new Stephen Hawking biopic “The Theory of Everything” has garnered quite a bit of attention for its stars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones. The Brit actors transformed into Stephen and Jane Hawking for the dramatic love-story with a little bit of help from costume designer Steven Noble.

Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking undergoes a drastic physical change in the film. How did you approach that?
Eddie gave the part 200 percent. [For Eddie] we got him a bit of a capsule collection of period pieces we rented so he would wear them everyday during rehearsal.

We started with Eddie being a bit gangly, geeky and a bit untidy. We made things a bit smaller for him at the start of the film. But as the film progressed we had to make the costumes much bigger so that he sort of disappeared into them. We also had little inserts made in his shoes so we could give him a bit of an awkward walk. We had some body parts made to wear under his costumes to give Eddie the bony elbows, shoulders and collarbone that would give him the more angular and slightly emaciated looking silhouette as the film progressed.

What was one of the big challenges of the film?

The film spans for four decades, which was quite a feat for costume fittings. We didn’t want things to look showy or iconic. We wanted a subtle timeline – nothing that jumped out to say ‘this is the mid-70s!’ or ‘we’re in the late ’80s!’

James Marsh is a very sensitive director and he didn’t want a hard timeline, he wanted an emotional timeline so it made it very difficult for us to work with emotions strictly. Between the actors and the creative department we had to create sort of our own secret timeline to make it work.

Where did you get the inspiration for the film?

You always get a really good feeling from the first initial draft you read. We had a lot of photographs and family things we could rely on and we did quite a bit of research online too. There were a lot of Steven Hawking images to work with from now, but not necessarily then [when we started developing things for Eddie]. We went to Cambridge to get a sense of the place and see the colors and the locations in his life and all that to get a sense of what would work on screen.