Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Actress Picked Up Unusual Insights from Hawking's Wife

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Actress Picked Up Unusual Insights from Hawking's Wife

Article excerpt

TORONTO - Actress Felicity Jones has nothing against comedy.

In fact, she would love to do one.

"I'm available for hire. I don't want to do any more crying."

The tears this time, though, came with the rich, real-life role of Jane Hawking, wife of Stephen Hawking and author of the book that inspired the movie, "The Theory of Everything." It opens in Pittsburgh today and co-stars Eddie Redmayne as the genius astrophysicist.

Jane wrote the 1999 book "Music to Move the Stars" (a nod to Gustave Flaubert) and later extensively revised and updated it. New paperback copies of the now-titled "Travelling to Infinity: My Life With Stephen" feature the real and reel couples on the cover.

Ms. Jones spent time with Jane, who proved an actress' dream in how she preserved everything from her relationship including a photo of the couple's wedding day in which Stephen is gripping one cane in the early stages of the ALS-like disease that would eventually force him into a wheelchair.

"She showed me that and early slides of when they met. 'I can't believe I'm looking at these personal images of Stephen Hawking on holiday by the seaside.' Being allowed into someone's intimate life is really special," said the actress.

And complicated.

Jane is no longer married to Stephen and hasn't been for roughly two decades. They divorced and Stephen wed one of his nurses (they also later split up) while Jane married a family friend, widowed choirmaster Jonathan Hellyer Jones, played on screen by Charlie Cox.

"She's very precise," the British actress, clad this day in a sleeveless coral-colored dress with a chunky necklace circling the collar, said of Jane. "She comes from an academic background so she's obsessed with details. Just as a side point, she didn't like it that Charlie, who plays Jonathan, didn't have a beard because Jonathan in real life has a beard. She's very, very pedantic.

"She came and I went through the costumes with her and she said, 'Actually, I wasn't wearing this in 1972, I was wearing something more like this,' which is great for me as an actress," Ms. Jones told a small cluster of writers during the Toronto International Film Festival where the movie had its world premiere.

Now and again, she would have to gently remind Jane that since director James Marsh was making a film, there had to be some artistic license.

Still, their time together, including with Jonathan, allowed Ms. Jones to observe and "steal details" about her.

"You want to inhabit that person so you're a bit like a detective trying to find clues."

Stephen came to the set on the second day of filming and so did Jane and Jonathan.

"Eddie and I were doing the [May] Ball scene and Stephen was on one side and Jane was on the other, this is so bizarre. …

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