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The Theory of Everything – Winners’ Press Conference interview, Outstanding British Film, EE British Academy Film Awards in 2015

8 February 2015

Winners’ Press Conference interview with James Marsh, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce and Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything) for Outstanding British Film

Winners press conference interview with James Marsh, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce and Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything) in the British film category


Q.  So guys, how do you feel about winning the first award of the night?  This is obviously a very huge and prestigious award?

ERIC FELLNER: We are very upset to be missing the show.

Q.  We will keep it quick, Eric. Does anyone have any questions for this team?

NEW SPEAKER:  Were there any doubts this was a hell of a project to take on (inaudible)?

JAMES MARSH: Every day. When you are doing something, if you don't get it right with the details, the whole thing is going to fall apart, and that is as much down to the cast as much as what we did, Eddie and Felicity in particular. So you are in this situation every day where you have to keep your standards very, very high and if you don't, then the film is just going to disintegrate around you.  So we were close to failure every day we were shooting.

NEW SPEAKER: Was it tough? You didn't shoot in sequence.

JAMES MARSH:  Well, it was tough for Eddie.  Not so tough for me.

JAMES MARSH:  Well, he had to internalise what was a progressive disability, and on any given day we might ask him to do two or three time jumps, so he would have to be walking, and then on a stick and then in a wheelchair in the same day, which put extra pressure on him. But the performance is not about that.  It is about the emotional life of the character that he brings out so beautifully.

Q.  Anthony, I know you chased the story down yourself quite a lot personally, yourself. Can you talk about that and how you found Jane's story?

ANTHONY McCARTEN: Yes. In 2004 I read Jane's book and had this eureka moment and decided I needed to try to get the rights to this story, and I decided to try and use all my charm and I anticipated that I would get the contract in an afternoon.  Well, it took eight years to get the signature, but we became friends.  We built trust.  And very quickly after that, once we had the rights, Working Title came on board and James came on board and we were off to the races.

Q.  And just very quickly for you all, I know Tim and Eric have won several BAFTAs already, but was this a real moment to get one from David Beckham?

ERIC FELLNER: It doesn't get better than that, does it?

ANTHONY McCARTEN: I got one from Sharon Stone last time. She felt me up on stage.  It's true.

Q.  Fantastic.

NEW SPEAKER:  What's it like having Stephen Hawking here tonight? 

LISA BRUCE:  It is both Steve Stephen and Jane, that is the reason this movie mattered to us, because the fact they had this amazing love story and they withstood this incredible story, I think it is an inspiration not just to all of us who made the film, but everyone who has seen the film.  And it is rare in today's modern commercial marketplace with films to be able to make an adult love story.  So it is also good that there are people like Eric and Tim around to still make movies like this.

Q.  We have time to take questions from the audience.

NEW SPEAKER:  It is Natalie from the BBC. You've obviously won the Outstanding British Film award. How challenging is it to make films in Britain at the moment?

ERIC FELLNER: Do you want me to do that?

Q.  Yes.

ERIC FELLNER: I think it is in a very good place.  We have a mature talent and craft base because we have had ten years from consecutive governments of investment through tax credits. We have great crews, great talent and we are doing two things fantastically: one, servicing big American movies; and two, coming up with our own original, exciting, dynamic commercial global exports of films that are being made by British writers, British directors and British producers. 

So we have been doing this for quite a while. (Laughs) And normally it is cyclical, and now it feels like it really has hit a little bit of a plateau.  However, if the dollar weakens radically, who knows?  But it's good.

TIM BEVAN:  It's as good as it's ever been.

Q.  And just very quickly up at the back. Yes, please.

NEW SPEAKER: Just following on from that last point. I think obviously, you mentioned that the success of the British film industry has completely changed from the (inaudible) celebrates British cinema and has that distinct category.

ANTHONY McCARTEN: Well, certainly why not, in a way, and this is the problem, as Eric was saying. I think the talent pool is really remarkable and that is feeding what Eric, Tim and people like that can do. 

We have also amazing actors that we can use who have, again, a global appeal, which helps us put together films. So in a sense, you know, winning best British film for such a British maybe specifically even English story, is just lovely for all of us. 

It is a film that the story grows out of an English soil, and to be here and to win this is just remarkable and fantastic, and what else can I say?

Q. We will let you get back to the show. Thanks again. 

Congratulations once again James Marsh, Eric Fellner, Tim Bevan, Anthony McCarten and Lisa Bruce.