HBO, BBC discover 'Einstein' project


HBO is taking a closer look at one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs of the 20th century: the creation of Albert Einstein's theory of relativity.

HBO Films and the BBC have teamed for "Einstein and Eddington," a film starring Andy Serkis and David Tennant.

The project, from Company Television Prods. Ltd., chronicles German-born Einstein's (Serkis) work on the theory that he began while he was a clerk at the Swiss Patent Office.

After his 1905 paper on special relativity, Einstein spent almost a decade developing the theory of general relativity, which introduces the notion of curvature in space-time.

British scientist Sir Arthur Eddington (Tennant) was one of the most prominent astrophysicists in the first decades of the 20th century and the first physicist who understood Einstein's ideas of relativity. Einstein and Eddington kept a correspondence while their squared off in World War I. Because of the military conflict, no new developments in German science were being made known to the rest of the world. So it was Eddington's 1920 article, which offered proof of the relativity theory of gravitation using data from the 1919 solar eclipse, that introduced Einstein's theory of general relativity to the English-speaking world.

"Einstein and Eddington" was written by Peter Moffat, with Philip Martin set to direct. The two worked together on "Hawking," the BBC's 2004 biopic of Stephen Hawking, who is considered the greatest mind in physics since Einstein and took Einstein's general relativity theory one step further, unifying it with quantum theory.

George Faber is executive producing "Einstein and Eddington" with Mark Pybus serving as producer.

This is not the first time HBO has explored unlikely scientific partnerships. Its 2004 film "Something the Lord Made," about the relationship between heart surgery pioneers Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas -- who were divided by race and social status -- won an Emmy for best TV movie.

"Einstein and Eddington" reunites HBO with Serkis, who starred in recent HBO Films/Channel 4 longform project "Longford." The actor, who also recently co-starred in "The Prestige" and directed the Sony PlayStation 3 game "Heavenly Sword," next will appear in "Inkheart." He is repped by Principal Entertainment's Larry Taube and Lou Coulson in the U.K.

Tennant has become a household name in Britain with his starring role as the 10th Doctor on BBC's long-running series "Doctor Who." His credits also include the BBC miniseries "Viva Blackpool!" and "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." Tennant is repped by ICM.