Focus Features “The Theory of Everything” hosted its U.S. premiere at MoMA on Monday night, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house following the screening of the Stephen Hawking biopic starring Eddie Redmayne.
Guests included Redmayne, Felicity Jones (who plays Stephen Hawking’s wife Jane), director James Marsh, Uma Thurman, Ron Meyer and Focus Features CEO Peter Schlessel.
“I was emotional,” said Charlie Cox, who plays the family friend Jonathan. “It was the first time I’d seen it.”
“Did I cry?” asked the screenwriter Anthony McCarten. “I choked up. It’s always the same place — a close up of Felicity’s face when [Hawking] tries to speak and she realizes she will never hear the voice of her husband again.”
Eric Fellner, the co-chairman of Working Title Films, which produced the $15 million drama, said the material also made him teary. “I used to weep my way through the movie,” he said. “That’s when I knew we had something special. You can work as hard as you want in a movie on post-production, but the one thing you can’t add is emotional resonance.”
Redmayne, who brought his parents from London as his dates, said he saw the film for the second time following its debut — to plenty of Oscar buzz — at the Toronto Film Festival in September. “I saw more of the subtleties and the virtuoso stuff Felicity was doing,” Redmayne said. “It’s interesting, because when you’re acting with another actor on a film set, you see something different than you see on camera. Only later do you realize how extraordinary their work was.”
Jones said that she received a stamp of approval on the film from Jane Hawking by telephone. “She was very complimentary,” Jones said. “She said I got her voice. I worked with two dialect coaches and a movement coach. I was playing her over 25 years, so I wanted to learn how your spine shifts, how your gait changes. You always want to find the walk of the character and the talk of the character.”
As she speaking to a Variety reporter, Frances McDormand walked over the congratulate her on the performance. “Dump this guy!” the Oscar-winning actress said, before sliding next to her in a booth at the Wayfarer, where the afterparty was held.
(Pictured: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, director James Marsh and Charlie Cox at “The Theory of Everything” party)