‘Genius’ On National Geographic: 6 Things To Know About The Albert Einstein Drama

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So many of us know about Albert Einstein — or we like to think we know about him.
One of the most likely things to first pop into our brains when contemplating him is the iconic photo of the physicist with his tongue out and his hair frizzed, one you probably saw adorning dorm room walls in college. Or maybe you’ll think of “E = mc2” — without even really knowing what it means. Despite Einstein’s prevalence in science and pop culture at large, it seems that we don’t know many intimate details about him at all.
Thank goodness for National Geographic‘s 10-part TV series “Genius“, then, which follows the childhood and eventual rise of Einstein as he becomes one of the most important figures of the 20th century. Johnny Flynn (“Clouds of Sils Maria”) plays young Einstein, while the older, more recognizable Einstein is played by Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush (“Shine”). The material was inspired by Walter Isaacson’s book, Einstein: His Life and Universe.
The science-and-nature channel is branching out with “Genius”, its first-ever scripted series, and with its sky-high production values, there were clearly no corners cut. If there’s any doubt of the project’s bona fides, Hollywood heavyweights Brian Grazer and Ron Howard are both executive producers on the project.
Global News chatted with Howard, Grazer and some of the cast at the winter session of the Television Critics Association in January, and got a sneak peek of the first episode. The show looks and feels like a movie, and is all-consuming right out of the gate. Here are 6 other things to know about “Genius”.
Ron Howard is making his TV directorial debut with Episode 1 of ‘Genius’.
Yes, that’s right. One of the greatest film directors of all time is directing a TV episode for the first time ever — and he couldn’t be more excited by the subject matter and the channel.
“National Geographic felt, to me, like the perfect home and platform for [“Genius”], and it suggested some things that I thought were very important and set the bar very high,” said Howard. “You know, National Geographic stands for integrity and authenticity, it tells us stories in a comprehensive way, and yet is riveting and very, very engrossing. And, last but not least, it’s always visually compelling, fascinating and immersive. So, these are all important goals to try to set, for not just the first hour, but in the series.”
“I really wanted it to be a psychological study,” he continued. “And so, I felt that … we could use Einstein’s perspective on the world, and also the key people, particularly the women in his life and their perspectives of him. So, these were the two pulls that I kept working off of visually.”
Einstein (or, at least, our conception of Einstein) is a tough figure to embody, simply because we’ve internalized what we think we know about the physicist. Rush and Flynn actually Skyped on multiple occasions to ensure their characters melded together in the right way, and presented a unified image.

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