Geoffrey Rush to play Albert Einstein in Genius series
Academy Award-, Golden Globe-, Emmy- and Tony-winning actor Geoffrey Rush (The Kings Speech, Pirates of the Caribbean, Shine) has been cast in National Geographic Channel’s upcoming global anthology series Genius, from Fox 21 Television Studios (“Homeland,” “The People v. O.J. Simpson”), Imagine Television (“24,” “Empire”), OddLot Entertainment and EUE/Sokolow. Rush will star as Albert Einstein in the first-ever scripted series for the network. The story is based on Walter Isaacson’s critically acclaimed biography of the celebrated scientist, and the first episode will be directed by Imagine’s Ron Howard, his first time directing a scripted prime-time drama. Production begins next month in Prague, and will air in 2017 on the National Geographic Channel in 171 countries and 45 languages.
Joining Rush in the cast is Johnny Flynn (Clouds of Sils Maria, Song One, “Lovesick”), who will play Einstein in the years before he rose to international attention and acclaim. Through 10 episodes, Genius will chart how an imaginative, rebellious patent clerk, who couldn’t get a teaching job or a doctorate, unlocked the mysteries of the atom and the universe. Each episode will explore Einstein’s extraordinary scientific achievements, along with his volatile, passionate and complex personal relationships.
“The caliber of the ‘Genius’ cast lives up to the show’s title,” said Carolyn Bernstein, executive vice president and head of global scripted development and production, National Geographic Channel. “The supremely talented Geoffrey Rush is dream casting for the role of Albert Einstein, and Johnny Flynn not only is an incredible talent but also bears more than a passing resemblance to Rush. We couldn’t be more excited to get them to work with Ron and the rest of the team.”
“It’s a testament to Ron, our team of creative partners and this fantastic material that we have put together such a powerhouse cast, led by the great Geoffrey Rush,” commented Bert Salke, president of Fox 21 Television Studios. “This truly has all the ingredients to be a special series.”
“National Geographic’s unwavering commitment to excellence and their support and passion for this project has helped us attract talent such as Geoffrey and Johnny. My excitement for this project grows every day, and I cannot wait to get started,” added Howard.
After more than two decades as a stage and film actor, Australian-born Geoffrey Rush burst into the mainstream with the role of a lifetime as piano prodigy David Helfgott in Shine, for which he received an Academy Award, Golden Globe award, BAFTA award and Australian Film Institute Award. Since then he has become one of Hollywood’s most reliable talents, with critically acclaimed roles in Shakespeare in Love, Quills, The Kings Speech and the Pirates of Caribbean franchise. He also won an Emmy award for his performance in the titular role of the television movie The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, and a Tony Award for lead actor in a play for Broadway’s “Exit the King.”
British actor and musician Johnny Flynn was nominated as the London Newcomer of the Year at the 2012 What’s On Stage Awards for his performance in “The Heretic” (Royal Court) and went on to gain his first Olivier Award nomination for “Jerusalem” (West End) that year. More recently, Johnny starred in Martin McDonagh’s huge hit “Hangmen” originating at the Royal Court and transferring to the West End. Other theater credits include “Twelfth Night/Richard III” with Mark Rylance (Globe/West End) and “The Low Road” (Royal Court). He co-starred with Anne Hathaway in the feature film Song One, for which The Hollywood Reporter called his performance “captivating” when it premiered at Sundance in 2014, and also appeared in the features Clouds of Sils Maria and Love Is Thicker Than Water. Flynn has had roles on several British television series, including “Lovesick” and “Brotherhood.” He is also the lead singer of the English folk band Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit, which has released three albums.
Each season of Genius will dramatize the fascinating stories of the world’s most brilliant innovators. The first season will be based on Walter Isaacson’s critically acclaimed book “Einstein: His Life and Universe,” adapted by writer Noah Pink. The series will be executive produced by Imagine’s Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Francie Calfo, and co-produced by Anna Culp; from OddLot Entertainment, Gigi Pritzker and Rachel Shane will executive produce and Melissa Rucker will co-produce; and Sam Sokolow and Jeff Cooney from EUE/Sokolow will also executive produce. Pink will also co-executive produce alongside showrunner Ken Biller. For National Geographic Channels, Carolyn G. Bernstein is executive vice president and head of global scripted development and production.
(Photo Credit: WENN.com)