Benedict Cumberbatch is one of a host of high-profile interviewees who will appear in a new autobiographical documentary about Stephen Hawking.
Science enthusiast Cumberbatch was nominated for a Bafta for his portrayal of the physicist in the 2004 BBC drama series Hawking, and in 2012 narrated three-part documentary series Stephen Hawking’s Grand Design.
The 36-year-old Sherlock star will be joined by actor Jim Carrey, businessman Sir Richard Branson, Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin and physicist Roger Penrose in the new Channel 4 production – also entitled Hawking – which will explore the extraordinary life story of the world’s most famous physicist.
The film – which will get a cinema release before being screened on TV – aims to chart Prof Hawking's development from childhood underachiever to scientific genius and media personality, and will explain how the Brief History of Time author learned to adapt to life after being diagnosed with Motor Neurone disease.
Hawking himself will be on hand to relate his story in his own words and his ex-wife Jane and sister Mary will provide insight about his private life.
“It’s a story that most of us have been aware of over the years, and so one kind of forgets how extraordinary it is,” said Chanel 4’s Senior Commissioning Editor David Glover.
“In this film he tells us the story of his life – making it the definitive film about Hawking. He does it in a rather understated, modest, British way – which makes it all the more moving. I think it’s a film that people will still be watching a hundred years from now.”
The film’s executive producer Ben Bowie added: “We are honoured to have had the opportunity to film and capture the most intimate details of Stephen Hawking’s life. Through Hawking’s own words, as well as those closest to him, viewers have an opportunity to get a fresh perspective on one of the greatest scientists of our time.”