Robert Maxwell Introduces Eddie Redmayne
The Ice Bucket Challenge gripped the nation this Summer, inspiring thousands of participants to get involved with raising money and awareness for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Before the disease was known by that name, British theoretical physicist and cosmologist was diagnosed with a motor neuron disease related to ALS. It was to be a terminal diagnosis, expected to claim his life within two years. He was 21. Today, he is 72, and although he is almost entirely paralyzed, continues to stay active in the scientific community.
The upcoming film, The Theory of Everything, looks to tell Stephen Hawking’s story through his time earning his PhD during and after his diagnosis, and the relationship with his first wife, Jane Wilde. Regardless of the emotional dexterity needed to play the role, the physical demands are extreme, and Eddie Redmayne was cast to portray Hawking’s entire physical and emotional journey for theatergoers, and Robert Maxwell was recruited to capture Eddie for the cover of Variety. For all the energy and style around The Theory of Everything being a faithful period piece, the image that Robert took of Eddie for Variety is a very contemporary representation of the young, virile actor. This is not a mistake. “I tend to keep things really simple… I don’t think a whole lot about the shoot before I shoot,” explains Robert. He deals with the person in the room, and doesn’t try to guild the lily. “I feel their personality and kind of try to take a cue from that.”
Eddie’s other major release this year, Jupiter Rising, is an interplanetary SciFi epic full of zero gravity battles and futuristic weaponry. But The Theory of Everything is an intimate drama about the relatable struggles of life. That focused, intense energy is calibrated perfectly for Robert’s own temperament. “I’m a loud guy that takes quiet pictures,” explains Robert with a healthy laugh. Sophie Haig, another member of the B&A family was on hand to groom Eddie and add to his effortless look.
Eddie Redmayne has been on international movie screens for the better part of a decade, but The Theory of Everything represents his first major lead role. In a way, we’re being introduced to him for the first time, and Robert’s image is the perfect introduction. It is a personal introduction, almost as if we’re mid conversation with the actor. It’s intensely open and available. Almost a moment stolen from an impossible history. How does Robert do it? “I don’t know how I do it, I just do it,” he explains. The photographer’s job is to capture and present moments that will never happen again. But Robert’s images give us the opportunity to see those moments, but also offer experiences we could never have ourselves.
The Theory of Everything opens November 7th.