Eddie Redmayne has given it rock all in Les Miserables, smooched Michelle Williams in My Week With Marilyn, and found himself broken-hearted on the frontline in Birdsong. But now the British actor is poised to undertake a challenge of a very different kind, playing Professor Stephen Hawking.

The film, from Oscar-winning Man on Wire director James Marsh, is called Theory of Everything.

Sherlock star Cumberbatch also played Hawking in a BBC drama about the theoretical physicist’s life in 2004.

Hawking’s popular 1988 book A Brief History of Time remained a best-seller for more than four years. He was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a form of motor neurone disease, shortly after his 21st birthday.