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Geoffrey Rush: Nat Geo’s series Genius ‘will shine light on who Einstein really was’

Geoffrey Rush as Einstein in National Geographic's new series Genius
Geoffrey Rush as Einstein in National Geographic Channel’s new series Genius

Geoffrey Rush says National Geographic Channel’s new series Genius will help paint a picture of who Einstein really was — outside of his role as a scientist.

The network’s first-ever scripted series, Genius is directed by Ron Howard and stars Rush as Einstein in his later years, while Johnny Flynn plays him in his younger days.

Asked at the Television Critics Association (TCA) winter press tour about how he researched for the role, Rush said: “I didn’t want to go down an IQ path in researching what genius was. I wanted to think of him outside of being a scientist.”

He added: “Einstein had a good sense of humor and wit. His optimism and sparkle is present in his humanitarian outlook.”

Johnny Flynn as the younger version of Einstein
Johnny Flynn as a younger Einstein in the National Geographic Channel series

Rush also praised the scientist as a person, added: “Dramatically he is a great heroic figure. He has to shift and change as events push him to a new level to survive. Einstein always saw the better side of humanity. He also saw the glass as half full.”

The actor was speaking via Satellite at the TCA press tour, alongside the show’s creator and executive producer Ken Biller, and co-stars Flynn and Samantha Colley.

Biller told how the writers had drawn upon Einstein’s well researched funny persona to create much of the script for the series. He said: “Though we’ve written some clever dialogue for him, some of the cleverest dialogue he wrote for himself.”

Genius, set to premiere in the spring, will be screened over 10 episodes and is based on the Walter Isaacson book Einstein: His Life and Universe.

The series is executive produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, with Howard also directing the first episode. Howard told the TCA press tour that despite never running a scripted series before, National Geographic Channel had felt like the “perfect home” for Genius as it had “set the bar very high for integrity and authenticity.”

Emily Watson stars alongside Rush and Flynn as the scientist’s second wife — and first cousin — Elsa Einstein.

Einstein’s groundbreaking discoveries reshaped our world through modern science, and elevated the sciences with his body of work. But Genius goes beyond the laboratory to find out who he was as a man. Was he a good husband? A good father? A man of principle?

Genius is set to air in Spring 2017.

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April is an accredited entertainment writer, interviewer and television critic. She is a current member of the Television Critics Association (TCA), Gay and Lesbian Entertainment... read more
April Neale
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