EXCLUSIVE: Vertigo inks UK rights to Darlow Smithson-Channel 4-PBS biopic about Stephen Hawking.

Vertigo Films has picked up UK rights to SXSW documentary Hawking, about famed scientist Stephen Hawking.

Told in his own words and those closest to him, the biopic relates Hawking’s incredible personal journey from boyhood underachiever, to PhD genius, to being diagnosed with Motor Neurone disease and given just two years to live. Despite the constant threat of death, Hawking rose to fame and superstardom and continues to make scientific discoveries.

Stephen Finnigan, BAFTA-nominated series producer of The Choir: Military Wives, directs the Channel 4 and PBS co-production, which is produced by Darlow Smithson Productions (DSP).

Vertigo’s Allan Niblo said: “Stephen Hawking is an icon and inspiration, we are thrilled to bring this intimate portrayal told in his own words to the big screen and hope that his brilliant insights into how the universe works inspires a new generation of scientists.”

Channel 4’s senior commissioning editor David Glover added: “It’s a story that most of us have been aware of over the years, and so one kind of forgets how extraordinary it is. In this film he tells us the story of his life – making it the definitive film about Hawking. He does it in a rather understated, modest, British way – which makes it all the more moving. I think it’s a film that people will still be watching a hundred years from now.”

Executive producer and creative director at DSP, Ben Bowie, said: “We are honored to have had the opportunity to film and capture the most intimate details of Stephen Hawking’s life. Through Hawking’s own words, as well as those closest to him, viewers have an opportunity to get a fresh perspective on one of the greatest scientists of our time.”

The film is due to air on Channel 4 later this year. Vertigo’s upcoming releases include Spring Breakers, All Stars, A Haunted House and Hammer of the Gods.

Hawking received its world premiere at SXSW yesterday [March 11].

Click here for the review.