The duo that portrayed Stephen and Jane Hawking to perfection may soon share the small screen for Amazon.
A tried and true pairing from the 2014 awards race will finally reteam on a new project. Variety reports that Eddie Redmayne (the Fantastic Beasts series) and Felicity Jones (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) could be headlining a new Amazon vehicle titled The Aeronauts.
Should Redmayne and Jones officially sign on for The Aeronauts, this would be their first collaboration since the Stephen Hawking biopic, The Theory of Everything. The Hawking film won Redmayne a bunch of awards, including the Oscar for Best Actor and saw Jones nominated for Best Actress at multiple ceremonies too.
The Aeronauts will be a period piece set in 1862. The film will follow the adventures of balloon pilot Amelia Wren (Jones) and scientist James Glaisher (Redmayne). Wren and Glaisher ended up being the first adventurers to fly an open balloon higher than anyone else, and have since kept their record intact. However, their ascent to the highest points of the atmosphere was fraught with difficulty too, as they had to fight for survival alongside their groundbreaking discoveries.
I know absolutely nothing about balloon piloting, and wanted to do some cursory research (at the time of writing) about Wren and Glaisher to get a feel for what they would be like in the film. However, just looking at the real Glaisher’s Wikipedia page, there is no mention of Wren despite a whole paragraph describing Glaisher’s achievements as a balloonist. The page fully credits him for the iconic balloon ascent and leaves Wren out. Searches for the real Wren mostly led back to press pieces about The Aeronauts in the last year (or indeed, turned up pictures of Amelia Earhart instead).
This, in and of itself, is more intriguing than the simple prospect of having yet another biopic grace our screens. There is no doubt about it that Jones would knock that role out of the park after having played real people in the past and headlined enormous movies. The draw of having her and Redmayne share a screen in lead roles again is also exciting in its own right, given how well they worked together on The Theory of Everything.
But being able to learn about the lives of influential people we didn’t know about adds a kind of fascination that doesn’t always accompany biopics about incredibly famous folks. We always have greater expectations of actors playing presidents or famous musicians, because there’s a discernible, easily-searched blueprint for who they were. That’s not possible with people like Wren and even Glaisher (whose Wikipedia article is fairly short), and that adds mystery and perhaps utility to the biographical aspect of the film. Of course, perhaps there is instead a propensity for audiences to fill in the blanks ourselves and treat these unknown pioneers as fictional characters anyway. Maybe that’s the real draw after all.
Tom Harper of War and Peace and Peaky Blinders fame is set to direct and produce The Aeronauts. Jack Thorne — who has one of the most exciting screenwriting careers at the moment — is slated to pen the script. Thorne was originally charged with rewriting Star Wars: Episode IX before J. J. Abrams and Chris Terrio stepped in. Thorne’s credits have included the likes of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (for the stage) and His Dark Materials (for BBC One).