Eddie Redmayne Stephen Hawking
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Source: Universal

Eddie Redmayne calls Stephen Hawking a 'beautiful mind' and 'the funniest man'

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Mar 14, 2018, 11:56 AM EDT

Stephen Hawking’s on-screen counterpart has paid his respects to the late physicist. Eddie Redmayne, who won an Oscar playing Hawking in the biopic The Theory Of Everything, spoke about the scientist, who died yesterday at 76. “We have lost a truly beautiful mind, an astonishing scientist and the funniest man I have ever had the pleasure to meet. My love and thoughts are with his extraordinary family,” Redmayne told SYFY WIRE in a statement.

The actor’s experience meeting the scientist bordered on the awestruck, as his descriptions sound more suited for a rock star: “One of the most important moments of my life. It was also one of the most terrifying moments of my life.” Hawking’s response to the actor’s work was equally grandiose. “I thought Eddie Redmayne portrayed me very well. At times, I thought he was me. It is perhaps the closest I will come to time travel,” Hawking said at the time.

Below is a clip of Redmayne’s performance, during a moment in Hawking’s life that would go on to help define the popular image of the physicist, who had been diagnosed with ALS since age 22:

Hawking also visited The Theory of Everything set for a night of shooting, during which he observed the actors playing himself and his ex-wife Jane Hawking:

He would go on to describe the film, which had an “authentic” performance by Redmayne, as giving him the opportunity to reflect on his life.