It was only a matter of time. The long string of biographical depictions of troubled geniuses, an ignominious tradition more recently carried on by the likes of The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything, had to inevitably yield an Albert Einstein biopic. But who’d have guessed it’d land on TV, and that producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer would go with the very first title that came to mind? Genius will mark the first scripted series to play on National Geographic, and they’re coming out with guns blazing; Academy Award winner Geoffrey Rush will play the originator of the relativity theory, a notoriously eccentric and complicated figure, with populist director Howard helming the pilot episode. Entertainment Weekly has the new trailer, and it looks like it’s going to tick all the prestige boxes.
In the series, Einstein goes through trial after trial over the course of his life before he won his precious Nobel Prize for his achievements in physics: dropping out of the school that always bored him, coining forward-thinking theories his peers were too dim to grasp, having to deal with those pesky Nazis. Einstein’s was not an easy life, but he took solace in his wife Elsa (played on the show by Emily Watson) and friend Michele Besso (Fringe’s Seth Gabel). In the flashback scenes, the young Einstein will be played by Johnny Flynn of Clouds of Sils Maria and Lovesick.
Both as theoretical physics boundary-buster and tongue-wagging model for dorm-room posters, Einstein left an indelible mark on our modern world. And chances are, that much will be made clear via a series of title cards that run at the end of the season, before the anthology series switches focus to a new brilliant mind in its second season. Genius comes to National Geographic in April.