Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones co-starred in The Theory of Everything. Jones was nominated for an Oscar, and Redmayne won an Oscar for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking. I know I saw The Theory of Everything, and it’s only been a few years, but I don’t remember anything about that movie, except the Oscar results. Maybe it’s because Jupiter Ascending is completely insane, but I remember Jupiter Ascending more clearly than I remember The Theory of Everything, and it is the more acceptably “good” movie. Well, fleeting impressions shouldn’t be a problem with Redmayne and Jones’s re-team project, which is a movie about a pair of 19th century hot air balloonists.
I really don’t think we need any description beyond “19th century hot air balloonists”, but the project announcement specifies that Redmayne will play a scientist named James Glaisher, and Jones will play a pilot named Amelia Wren. The movie is called The Aeronauts, and don’t let the whimsical protagonists or vaguely steampunk title fool you, because this is a SURVIVAL TALE. Apparently Glaisher and Wren will run into some trouble as they ascend through the atmosphere, and they will be “forced into an epic fight for survival”. I can’t wait to see how theatric Redmayne can make his gasps for air (he’s a good actor but holy hell is he mannered). Do you think he can top the all-time best deep breath scene in cinematic history?
Undoubtedly this will be positioned as a prestige picture, and it will probably be a very handsome film full of handsome people doing handsome things. But I really hope they let the “19th century hot air balloonists” hook lead the way, because we have plenty of self-serious biopics already. What we could use is a “history is wild” caper about a couple of crazy kids struggling through the stratosphere in a goddamned hot air balloon.