The Anglo-File: Stephen Hawking: New vs Old

Stephen Hawking is a brilliant theoretical physicist. His contributions to the scientific community have garnered him with accolades and have expanded our understanding of the universe. I won’t pretend like I understand the slightest notion of what any of his work means, but one thing I do know is despite the American accent of his robotic voice, he is, in fact, British.

As one of Britain’s gems, his life is subject to curiosity. Who is the man behind the mind? A new film is hoping to discover just that. The Theory of Everything, starring the adorabley freckled Eddie Redmayne, takes a look at Stephen Hawking’s life beyond just the academics. Take a look at the trailer:

From what I can gather from the trailer, it will have an extensive focus on his romantic relationship with Jane Wilde, his eventual wife and dedicated companion. This angle will no doubt be more amiable to a wider audience than a movie focused too closely on his academic achievements. A story of love conquering in the face of great adversity. Proof that even the nerdiest of nerds has the potential for great love.

But, hey, wait a second. Hasn’t this been done before?

I wouldn’t be a good Cumbercookie if I wasn’t familiar with Hawking, the made-for-tv movie starring a baby Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role that came out ten years ago before he was the mega-star that he is today. Here he is hitting on a baby Alice Eve – who I should point out is not playing Jane Wilde in this film, she’s just a random girl at the pub, but the film as a whole does portray Jane as an incredibly important character in the life of the young Hawking. I would argue, however, that this film doesn’t make their relationship the basis of the entire plot and is more intrigued by Hawking’s path to academic greatness.

Then of course there was the more documentative film about the life of Stephen Hawking. Perhaps in preparation for The Theory of Everything one might look to this source material to gain a better grasp of what his life was really like without the aid from some of Britain’s new thespian talent.

If you’re feeling really ambitious here are the full versions of Hawking and Hawking for your viewing and educational pleasure.

Hawking (Benedict Cumberbatch version)

The question remains, who does the better Hawking? Stay tuned for a comparative post between The Theory of Everything vs. Hawking, Redmayne vs. Cumberbatch, freckles vs. cheekbones.

The Theory of Everything hits theaters 7 November.

God save the Queen.

R. Lee