The first season of National Geographic’s “Genius” hasn’t even premiered yet, but two of the driving forces behind the show, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, are already on the hunt for a spectacularly smart subject for Season 2.
At Variety‘s Massive Entertainment Marketing Summit on Wednesday, the producers and co-founders of Imagine Entertainment sat down for a keynote conversation about their Einstein-centered project and plans for future “Genius” series.
“We’re already talking about Season 2 of ‘Genius,’ and we don’t know who our genius will be yet,” Howard told Variety‘s executive editor of TV Debra Birnbaum, before his partner in crime Grazer chipped in on the matter.
“If there’s any answers for who our next genius should be … ” Grazer joked to chuckles from the attendees who packed into a ballroom at the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills.
Earlier in the conversation, Howard and Grazer had explained why Nat Geo and “Genius” were such a natural fit.
“Nat Geo deals with science, history and adventure in very entertaining ways, and that’s the mandate with our show. That’s what we’ve always wanted,” Howard said.
In terms of casting Geoffrey Rush in the lead role of Einstein, Grazer joked the legendary Australian actor was a natural choice because “he just looks like Einstein.”
Rush was able to showcase the playfulness that he will bring to the role in the Super Bowl commercial for “Genius,” during which he played a Lady Gaga song on the violin before sticking his tongue out in a cheeky gesture. Howard said the spot is representative of the real Einstein’s character.
“One of the big surprises for me about Einstein was … that he wasn’t this big introvert, he was more like a novelist or a painter. It’s amazing how close society came to not benefiting from Albert Einstein’s genius,” Howard said.