In an e-mail to director James Marsh about the portrayal by Eddie Redmayne, Stephen Hawking said there were certain points when he thought he was watching himself.
In addition to his copyrighted voice, Stephen Hawking also lent the filmmakers his Companion of Honour medal and his signed thesis to use as genuine props in the film.
Eddie Redmayne met with Stephen Hawking only once before filming. "In the three hours I spent with him, he said maybe eight sentences," recalls Redmayne. "I just didn't feel like I could ask him intimate things." Therefore, he found other ways to prepare for the role. He lost about fifteen pounds and trained for four months with a dancer to learn how to control his body. He met with forty ALS patients, kept a chart tracking the order in which Hawking's muscles declined, and stood in front of a mirror for hours on end, contorting his face. Lastly, he remained motionless and hunched over between takes, so much so that an osteopath told him he had altered the alignment of his spine. "I fear I'm a bit of a control freak," Redmayne admits. "I was obsessive. I'm not sure it was healthy."
Stephen Hawking said that the film was "broadly true." He then went on to lend his voice for the final parts of the film.
Jane Hawking requested that she and Stephen never make love on screen. Her request was honored as this is no more than alluded to in the finished film.
Screenwriter Anthony McCarten said Stephen Hawking having a tear wiped from his cheek by his nurse was the greatest moment of the film screening.
In the scene with Jane and Stephen on the bed after moving it down to the kitchen, Stephen whispers, "Thank you." According to Eddie Redmayne, there were originally no words for this scene, but he added it in himself. It turned out to be one of James Marsh's favorite scenes in the film.
Screenwriter Anthony McCarten spent nearly three years convincing Jane Hawking to agree to a film adaptation of her book.
Eddie Redmayne considered the portrayal "a hefty challenge," as the film was not shot chronologically. Hence, he had to chart the physical deterioration of Stephen Hawking at the periodic time the scene took place.
Kip Thorne won a scientific bet against Stephen Hawking upon the astrophysics theory that underlies Interstellar (2014). As a consequence, Hawking had to subscribe to Penthouse magazine for a year. This famous bet is depicted in The Theory of Everything (2014), which was released in the same year as Interstellar (2014).
The quote, "Daisy, Daisy. Give me your answer, do," that Hawking uses while experimenting with his new speech-generating device, comes from the lyrics of the well-known song "Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two)," written by Harry Dacre in 1892. This is the song that was used for the earliest known demonstration of computer speech synthesis in 1961, when it was "sung" by an IBM 704 computer. As a tribute to that event, "Daisy Bell" was also sung by the fictional HAL 9000 computer in a memorable scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), coincidentally also at a point where HAL's performance is slowly deteriorating (like Hawking's).
Eddie Redmayne is a good friend of Benedict Cumberbatch, who played Stephen Hawking in the TV movie Hawking (2004) for the BBC. Cumberbatch is the first ever actor to play the scientist on screen. Both actors were nominated for Best Actor in 2014 at the Academy Awards, with Redmayne winning for his performance in this film over Cumberbatch's performance in The Imitation Game (2014).
At the 2015 Academy Award ceremony, this was the only film to earn nominations for both Leading Actor and Leading Actress.
Eddie Redmayne beat Benedict Cumberbatch, who was nominated for The Imitation Game (2014), for the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama in this role. Benedict Cumberbatch had played Stephen Hawking ten years before in Hawking (2004).
When driving around in his wheelchair using his computer voice, Stephen Hawking would say, "Exterminate! Exterminate!" just like the Daleks in Doctor Who (1963).
The lines Jane quotes to Stephen, near the beginning of the film when they are at a ball, are from "The Song of the Happy Shepherd" by William Butler Yeats.
Adam Godley, who played a doctor in this film, played Stephen Hawking's father in the film Hawking (2004), which featured Benedict Cumberbatch.
The pen that Stephen imagines picking up is the Parker 51, considered by many to be the best pen ever made.
The math problem, "Calculate the stress tensor for source free electromagnetic and show that it is conserved using Maxwell's equations," is the fourth math problem from the set passed out by Professor Sciama that Hawking digs out on his room/dorm's desk at Cambridge University.
While celebrating Stephen's PhD, Brian calls Stephen "Doctor Who." In real life, Harry Lloyd was a Doctor Who (2005) villain in the episodes Doctor Who: Human Nature (2007) and Doctor Who: The Family of Blood (2007).
When Jane Hawking is on the medical air ambulance looking out the window of the airplane at Jonathan Jones standing on the tarmac, the other airplane visible in the foreground (with twin mounted turbine engines) is a modified Boeing 747 film prop that was featured in the James Bond movie Casino Royale (2006). The airplane is not airworthy and is located at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, England, which is also the filming location for the hit U.K. television show Top Gear (2002). Just prior to Jane boarding, in the frame where the two are hugging each other, the snow-capped mountains in the background are digitally added (there are no mountains in Dunsfold).
David Thewlis and Eddie Redmayne have both appeared In J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
This film is included among the "1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die," edited by Steven Schneider.
Both Felicity Jones and Harry Lloyd played roles in Doctor Who (2005). Lloyd was in the third season and Jones was in the fourth, but both with David Tennant as The Doctor.
Around half of the movie, we see Jane holding a handbook manuscript while transcribing it from old Spanish to the English language. The manuscript contains verses 132 to 163 from Silva al Verano by Aragonese poet Matías Ginovés and verses 126 to 136 from Canción a San Gerónimo by baroque poet Adrián de Prado.
While celebrating Stephen's PhD, Brian calls Stephen "Doctor Who." In real life, Felicity Jones appeared in a 2008 Doctor Who (2005) episode, Doctor Who: The Unicorn and the Wasp (2008).
The cover of the chess book that Stephen Hawking reads, "Chess: Advanced Chess Strategy," (written by Pavel Brinsky) appears to be fictional. At the seminar room in Cambridge, Hawking sneaks the position after Black's 28th move during the game between Alekhine and Sultan Khan. Berne (1932) appeared in Alekhine's book, "My Best Games of Chess" 1924-1937 (1939).
Felicity Jones's Best Actress Oscar-nominated performance was the only one in the category in a Best Picture nominee that year.
Stephen Hawking died on March 14 (3.14), 2018. 3.14 represents the first three digits of pi and it also is Albert Einstein's birth date.
This was the second time Felicity Jones and Harry Lloyd worked together. They previously starred alongside each other in the school play Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors.
Felicity Jones and Emily Watson both starred in the 2010 comedy Cemetery Junction (2010), also playing mother and daughter.
Emily Watson previously appeared in War Horse (2011) with Benedict Cumberbatch, who has also played Hawking.
One of the filming locations used was Pinner in the county of Middlesex. Another project that was filmed there was the TV show, Suburban Shootout (2006) which starred Tom Hiddleston. Tom and Eddie Redmayne (Stephen Hawking) were in the same year while attending school and were even in a school production of 'A Passage to India' together, with Eddie playing Miss Adela Quested, the female lead and Tom playing the front right leg of the elephant Eddie was sitting on.