Right now, all eyes are on Felicity Jones. It’s no easy feat to take on the biopic of the tragic yet inspiring true story of Stephen Hawking and his first wife Jane Wilde. While our January issue special cover star Eddie Redmayne stuns in his career-defining portrayal of the physicist, there's no ignoring Jones’ equally sparkling performance as Jane.
ELLE talks to Felicity about meeting Stephen Hawking, playing a strong female and arguing with Eddie Redmayne…
ELLE: How was it meeting Stephen and Jane?
Felicity Jones: They are extraordinary people, and were very open in letting us tell their intimate story.
ELLE: How did you prepare for the role?
Felicity Jones: I became very obsessive. Playing a real person comes with a lot of responsibility, so I wanted to know as much as possible about Jane. To meet her was extraordinary, because she is a woman who has this amazing wit, and she can command a room with such ease. It was about balancing all these nuanced parts of her.
ELLE: Was it daunting playing someone very much available to critique your work?
Felicity Jones: It’s really intimidating – you know that person is going to be seeing the film so you want to do it justice.
ELLE: Did Jane give you any advice when you met her?
Felicity Jones: I had a cup of tea with her, and I spent a lot of time just observing her mannerisms. She probably thought I was a bit distracted, because I would just watch the way she picked up her cup or the way she moved.
ELLE: Jane is a person who shows incredible strength, is that someone you associated with?
Felicity Jones: I wish! She is someone that I deeply respect and admire – she stood by her beliefs at such a young age. Stephen said so himself; that he was really overwhelmed by her support. Very often with very famous, successful people, the supporting people in the background can sometimes be eclipsed, but I wanted to show that not only was she supportive, but she had her own very special idiosyncratic character as well.
ELLE: What was the most challenging part of filming?
Felicity Jones: When portraying real people, you don’t finish work then go to the pub and not think about it. You take it with you. Eddie and I became so passionate about Jane and Stephen, we had lots of discussions – even arguments! It was an intense experience, but so rewarding because it felt like a very special story to be telling.
ELLE: Had you worked with Eddie before?
Felicity Jones: We both worked with Michael Grandage at The Donmar Warehouse, so a lot of the practices we'd had in the theatre, we brought to making the film. When it came to filming together, we tried things out and made lots of mistakes before it felt right.
The Theory of Everything is out on 1 January 2015.