Genius: Emily Watson Joins National Geographic Channel Series


Emily Watson will play Elle Einstein on National Geographic Channel's Genius series.

Emily Watson will play Ella Einstein on the upcoming National Geographic Channel series Genius

Academy Award and Golden Globe-nominated actress Emily Watson (Theory of Everything, The Book Thief) is set to join 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. She’ll play Elsa Einstein, the second wife – and first cousin – of the enigmatic scientist Albert Einstein. As previously announced, Albert Einstein will be played in his elder years by Geoffrey Rush and in his younger years by Johnny Flynn.

Also joining the Genius cast are Michael McElhatton (Game of Thrones) as physicist Dr. Philipp Lenard, an early role model for a young Einstein, who evolved into his longtime adversary – both inside and outside the laboratory; Seth Gabel (Salem, Fringe) as Einstein’s longtime friend and confidant Michele Besso; Samantha Colley (The Crucible) as Mileva Maric, a fellow student of Einstein’s during his university years in Zurich, who later became his first wife and mother to his three children; Richard Topol (Covert Affairs, Elementary) as Fritz Haber, a brilliant chemist and close colleague of Einstein’s who held some nontraditional and controversial political views; and Vincent Kartheiser (Mad Men, Saints & Strangers) as Raymond Geist, a consulate official in Berlin.

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. Through ten 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 first episode will be directed by Imagine’s Ron Howard, his first time directing a scripted prime-time drama.

Production on Genius begins next month in Prague, and will air in 2017 on the National Geographic Channel in 171 countries and 45 languages.

Genius 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: Dominic Chan /