He was diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 21, and told he only had two years to live. But Stephen Hawking went on to become one of the most respected theoretical physicists in the world, still lecturing at 72.
A new film – starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones – is inspired by the memoir by Hawking’s ex-wife Jane. The Theory of Everything tells the story of the couple’s romance and Hawking’s diagnosis: he has said that their engagement “gave him something to live for”.
Redmayne has been praised for a visceral performance that drew on months of research into the disease. He tells Tom Brook about meeting Hawking on set, and what he learned from spending time with MND sufferers.
“It’s like being in a prison with the walls getting smaller everyday… what it did to Stephen was it catalysed him to live life fully.”
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