Hawking Appreciation Post
Benedict had two meetings with Professor Hawking.
"One was before filming, which was terrifying," he admits.
"He’s such a presence and you have to really know what you want to say to him or ask him because it takes such a huge, phenomenal effort for him to communicate with you; you think, ‘I really don’t want to waste this man’s time’.
"It was a script-editing meeting and we were both looking at each other from opposite ends of the table, then we just caught each other’s eye and smiled.
"It was really nice. At the end of the meeting, he said, ‘I think it’s going to be great, good luck’ – and we all walked out on air."
The second meeting was when Professor Hawking came on set during filming at Cambridge.
"I was dressed up as him as a young man, so there was lots of joking and I felt much more at ease with him," explains Benedict.
"I was myself rather than thinking: ‘I’m a stupid actor, how on earth can I impress someone like this? I don’t know what to say to make me feel worthy of playing this man’.
"He was so accommodating and really sweet and he teased me. He said: ‘You’re better looking than me; I was more scruffy than you’.
"I’ve seen the photographs and it’s not true," grins Benedict.
"But he was very funny and made me laugh. He’s got a good sense of humour. It takes a long time for a one-liner to come out, but when they do, they’re fantastic!"
(Source: BBC Press Office)