Tribeca 2017: GENIUS Q & A Panel Discussion With Executive Producers Brian Grazer & Ron HowardBy Dominga Martin
April 21, 2017
The new scripted series based on the life of Albert Einstein reveals sex appeal and the audacity of genius.
“The art of good storytelling is to start off with a fck or a fight.” says Executive Producer Brian Grazer, as he sat on a panel after the world premiere screening of “Genius,” the new and first scripted series brought to you by National Geographic. The audience erupted in laughter, and although he was paraphrasing lead actor Geoffrey Rush’s (Albert Einstein) comedic perception of the film, we all shared the same sentiment; our laughter confirming a revelation we did not know about Albert Einstein—he was not only a genius of science, he was also a fan of the woman’s anatomy, and that’s what’s remarkable about this new series—Director, Ron Howard captures the essence of who Einstein was, as a human being. A man, with fears, bold audacity and charisma…a person brilliant enough to follow his intuition, no matter how crazed it may seem (and despite) who he may offend.
After the world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, Director, Producers and cast gathered for a conversation after the film, letting us in on great news which just came in: Genius has already been renewed for a second season.
But back to Albert Einstein:
This is a brilliant piece of art history and filmmaking, taking viewers inside Hitler’s Germany, and what it was like for Einstein to live boldly during this time, and standing his ground when his wife was afraid to stay in a country targeting Jews.
“I had no idea he (Albert Einstein) was on ‘the list’ and so controversial that Hoover would want to keep him out (of America).”
The topical content juxtaposed against the current climate in this country, under an administration discriminating and violating the constitutional rights of those who are “different” by religion or nationality is oh so familiar and relatable. The drama depicts the rise of anti-semitism, and all the isms, in addition to nationalism, fascism, xenophobia and immigration. It is a visual education.
However, what adds to the intrigue of this dynamic work of art is the audacity and courage that Albert Einstein exhibited in answering his calling to be one of the most brilliant minds in history.
“These types of geniuses require lots of courage.” says Ron Howard, who admitted to experiencing so many surprises as he read the acclaimed biography written by Walter Isaacson. He describes Einstein as a “Bohemian free thinker”, and states how it was important to him to understand his story, in his (Einstein’s) truth.
One of his secrets to story telling which he shared is: “I put myself in the shoes of key characters whether fact based or fiction. I ask myself, ‘what is going on around me?’ and if I don’t approve—what am I going to do about it?”
This story unravels within the context of historical accounts and figures whom Einstein knew. Historical masterminds that are threaded intricately, including Einstein’s first wife: Mileva Marić, portaryed boldly and beautifully by actress Samantha Colley. Mileva was a physicist born in 1875, a woman with a mind that ran circles around Albert, having him take notice.
Samantha had this to say: “Mileva was a woman who was crashing through boundaries and trying to stand on equal footing with the men…she is another woman, in very long list chewed up and spat out from history.”
I am excited to dig into this story. Who knew that Albert Einstein “revels in making love and talking about science.”
Genius airs on National Geographic April 25 and Tuesdays therafter, starting at 9PM.