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Felicity Jones on playing Stephen Hawking's first wife in 'The Theory of Everything'




Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne in
Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne in "The Theory Of Everything," directed by James Marsh.
Focus Features
Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne in


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The film The Theory of Everything examines the life of Stephen Hawking -- from his college years, as he begins his groundbreaking work in medicine and science, and through his decades-long struggle with a motor neuron disease.

But it's also a love story.

It follows the young, very promising Cambridge University student as he falls in love with a fellow collegian, Jane Wilde. 

Actress Felicity Jones plays Jane. She told Take Two this week that when she sat down and read the script for "The Theory of Everything," she loved that it wasn't a straight forward biopic. "There was this incredible female character," she said, "who was nuanced and complex and had a strength and determination."

Watch the official trailer for the film:

 

INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS

Why do you think Jane Hawking stayed after Stephen got his bad health diagnosis?

She fell in love with Stephen instantly. It was that young, passionate love. Also there's something in Jane; Jane is a woman who when she says she's going to do something commits to it 100 percent.

She very much would never have wanted to leave Stephen. It was always about trying to make his life as comfortable as possible and bringing up three children and having her own academic career. It was a woman who was balancing a lot of different roles and needed a lot of inner strength to do that.

While Eddie Redmayne transformed so much physically during the film, there was an emotional transformation for you. What was that like?

It was that thing of playing a real person, you feel a sense of responsibility and, as you say, charting someone's emotional changes over 25 years is definitely a challenge. I read her book and that became a resource that I constantly referred back to. There were great quotations from Jane. She said, 'We were going to defy the doctors, defy the disease.' It was this very sort of strong-minded, going into battle attitude and when she's speaking to Stephen's father-in-law it's her sort of call to arms. Also, meeting Jane and realizing this woman has such humor and humanity and bringing that into the film was really important. When you meet carers and patients they are normal families just trying to get through the day to day. It's about finding the light in life. Speaking to Jane's youngest son, Tim, she said how they used to put swear words into his voice box and he and his brother and sister would ride Stephen's chair. And it was that kind of texture and reality of dealing with someone with a disability and what it's like that was so important to put in the film, to find the humor in it. Because Stephen and Jane - there was no self-pity in their situation.

She stayed with him for many years but that relationship did not pan out for them and they go on to have separate lives that are rich and fulfilling. As a young woman, what do you think you took away from playing Jane Hawking throughout her life?

Her strength. That life isn't always easy but you have to have a fortitude and determination and I kept finding when I was researching Jane this galvanized spirit. She's someone who still now is not defeated by difficulty. I take her home with me at the end of the day and even after I finished shooting I'd say to to Eddie, 'I've forgotten who I am.' You really do take on that person and even when I'm making a decision I think, 'What would Jane do in this situation?' She is someone I deeply  respect and admire.