Though superheroes may be grabbing all the headlines this week, the march toward the latter third of the year means that a more somber sort of movie will soon be dominating cinema screens. During the autumn and winter awards season of the last few years, biopics have proven themselves to be almost as solid a bet as films about men and women in spandex.
Thus, The Theory of Everything – a narrative account of the life of physicist Stephen Hawking – is right on schedule for an early November release. The first trailer for the film shows off an impressive cast, stately photography, a rousing score, and much triumph over what could have otherwise become tragedy.
Starring Eddie Redmayne (Les Misérables) and Felicity Jones (The Amazing Spider-Man 2), The Theory of Everything focuses on the period of Hawking’s life in which he met his wife, began the work that would result in the class A Brief History of Time, and was diagnosed with the degenerative nerve disorder that would eventually rob him of his voice and confine him to a wheelchair.
On the one hand, this first preview seems to check off a few too many Standard Biopic Trope boxes, including the presence of a benevolently gruff mentor and a very familiar narrative structure. At the same time, Hawking remains a fascinating subject with an undeniably inspiring life story – one that could be teased out into a strong narrative.
The Theory of Everything is a bit of a departure for director James Marsh, who has previously been better known for documentaries such as Man on Wire and Wisconsin Death Trip. These projects were captivating largely because they dug into the idiosyncrasies and strange details underlying their subjects. It will be interesting to see if Marsh bring that kind of eye to a fictionalized account of one of the greatest figures of modern science.
The Theory of Everything will appear in US theaters on November 7th, 2014.
Follow me on Twitter: @ProjectNightHam