Ken Biller Q&A: ‘Genius’ creator
“I think the show is very timely for a number of reasons. It’s become more timely since we started to make it,” admits “Genius” executive producer Ken Biller about the limited series “Genius.” In discussing the NatGeo series about the life of Albert Einstein in our webchat (watch the exclusive video above), he adds “It’s about his great intellectual achievements, but really it’s about Albert Einstein, the man behind the mind. It really digs into his personal life, his professional life, his rivalries, his relationships. But it also deals very heavily with Einstein’s political evolution, and that is, of course, a factor of the times he lived in.”
Based on the book “Einstein: His Life and Universe” by Walter Isaacson, the 10-part program stars Geoffrey Rush as the older Einstein and Johnny Flynn as the college version. Oscar winner Ron Howard (“A Beautiful Mind”) executive produced the project with Brian Grazer and directed the first installment. Other stars include Emily Watson, Samantha Colley, Nicholas Rowe, T.R. Knight, and Vincent Kartheiser.
With recent events such as Brexit in the United Kingdom and the election of Donald Trump in the United States, Biller reflects on how this new show fits in. He says, “The show doesn’t have any overt political message, and it shouldn’t. But it is uncanny the way in which events of Einstein’s life seem to be in some ways repeating themselves now… It actually shows the struggle that Einstein had to have his ideas understood. Ultimately Einstein goes from somebody who is very obscure, who isn’t listened to, who has a lot of forces lined up against him, to the point where he becomes a hero to a lot of people and a giant international celebrity.”
Biller is a writer and producer as well as the showrunner for “Genius.” Before this project he had worked on many episodes of “Star Trek: Voyager,” “Dark Angel,” “Smallville,” “Legend of the Seeker,” and “Legends.”