A new film explores the personal life of Stephen Hawking and his first wife Jane, from the couple's early days until the later stages of Hawking's devastating illness. "The Theory of Everything" is based on Jane Hawking's memoir "Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen" (Alma Books, 2008), and stars actors Eddie Redmayne as Stephen and Felicity Jones as Jane.
Cambridge University students Brian (Harry Lloyd) and Stephen (Eddie Redmayne) go for a spin. Hawking was pursuing a PhD in physics when he first became interested in spacetime singularities.
On the set
Actors Harry Lloyd and Eddie Redmayne with director James Marsh on location at Cambridge. The film is not meant to be a biopic of Hawking's life, but rather a portrait of his relationship with Jane, Marsh said.
Stephen (Redmayne) and Jane (Jones) fall in love and go to a festive May ball. Actor Eddie Redmayne gives a convincing performance as Hawking, an able-bodied and rakish young man who, as the film goes on, undergoes a steady physical decline.
Not long after meeting Jane, Hawking receives a devastating diagnosis of motor neuron disease (also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease), a progressive neurological disorder that attacks the neurons that control the muscles. His doctors tell him he has two years to live.
Despite Stephen's illness, Jane and Hawking decide to get married. At this point, Stephen already had to use a cane, but he would gradually lose his ability to walk entirely.
The film is as much a story about Jane as it is about Stephen. Hawking's first wife and the mother of his three children stood by him for many years, as his career blossomed and his disease progressed. Even though the couple ultimately got divorced, they remain friends.
Stephen continued to pursue his interest in cosmology in spite of his illness, and is considered one of the greatest minds in physics today. His story reveals the triumph of the human spirit over one of the world's most brutal diseases.