But, as director James Marsh explains in the above featurette debuted exclusively on TheWrap, her performance as Jane Hawking provides the heart that transforms the film from the chronicle of Stephen Hawking, a brilliant scientist trapped in a deteriorating body, to a great and unconventional love story.
“Eddie’s performance was very detailed physically, but Felicity’s details are all emotional,” says Marsh in the video. “That’s really difficult to do.”
Playing the college sweetheart who married Hawking after he was diagnosed with ALS and given two years to live, the 31-year-old British actress creates a fierce, frustrated and formidable partner for Redmayne’s Hawking.
The performance had its roots in meetings Jones took with the real Jane Hawking, who even lent her clothes. “It is surreal playing a real person, you know?” Jones told TheWrap before the film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.
“There was one moment when we were shooting the ball scene, which is early on in the film, and Stephen Hawking was on one side of our peripheral vision and Jane was on the other. I remember Eddie and I looking at each other and going, ‘This is bizarre.’”
Watch the above featurette for more on Jones’ journey to that bizarre experience and that Oscar-worthy performance.