‘Theory of Everything’ cinematographer Benoit Delhomme on challenge of ‘limited possibilities’

“I didn’t want people to think the film was limited to someone not moving. I wanted to show the world around him,” cinematographer Benoit Delhomme said of the challenge he faced in bringing the life of Stephen Hawking to the screen in “The Theory of Everything.” “I wanted to show his brain was so alive. For me, it’s not about a man who cannot move. His brain is going so fast, it can imagine so many things. I wanted the emotions to be there on screen.”

Watch Delhomme’s Oscars Q&A with Gold Derby below.

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“I like it when films give me limited possibilities,” Delhomme said when asked about the difficulties presented in telling the story of a man confined to a wheelchair and robbed of the ability to speak. “In a way, you can be more creative. When the main character cannot move or talk, you need to find ideas, visual ideas you will never find with normal people in a way.”

So how did Delhomme and director James Marsh solve the problem of showing the inner thoughts Hawking could not express in words? “I tried to convey his mood with colors, the strength of the light. It was not a problem at all for me. It was more a strength in a way.”

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He also sang the praises of star Eddie Redmayne, who faced a daunting task in portraying the different stages of Hawking’s disability. “His face is so expressive. It becomes like the landscape of the film. You want to be close to him. You want to know what he feels, what he says, even with his face. For me, it’s not a problem to say the film can only be on Stephen’s face, because what Eddie Redmayne was about to do was so incredible.”

Delhomme’s credits include this year’s “A Most Wanted Man,” as well as “Lawless” (2012), “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” (2008) and “The Merchant of Venice” (2004).

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