It takes a genius to dress one. For the Theory of Everything, in theaters Nov. 7, that mastermind is costume designer Steven Noble, who has worked on such films as Two Faces of January, Trainspotting, Under the Skin, Never Let Me Go, and more. While the actors Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones tell the story of a young Stephen Hawking and wife Jane as they learn of Stephen's motor neuron disease diagnosis, it’s Noble’s job to make them look incredibly real. To do so, he referenced family pictures to get the hundreds of costume changes just right. “I took what I saw and then heightened the looks slightly to make it more visual and exciting to watch on screen,” Noble told us when we chatted with him over the phone earlier this year.
One challenge: Perfecting Jane’s wedding gown. Turns out, Jane actually lent her original wedding dress to the costume team for Jones to wear during filming. “However, Felicity, myself, Jane, and the director [James Marsh] thought it was a little bit too much,” explained Noble. As a result, he custom-designed one himself. The original dress was covered in daisies and flowers, which he removed in his version. “The core design of the dress is different, but the empire waist and the neckline is quite similar,” says Noble. “We just simplified it, and everyone agreed that it looked better than the original.”
Jones loved that costume as well as the dozens of others she wore for the film. "Costumes are vital in inhabiting a character," she told us during the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this year. "Jane is someone who very much cares about looking good, especially when going through something very difficult. I think she felt a strong sense of presenting a very together public image to show that even though it might be hard at home. She was someone who when in front of other people, wanted to put on a good show. She was very aware of outside perception."
She was also someone who loves clothes, Jones said, explaining that Jane came to set often and checked out the costumes during the early stages of the filming process. "She commented and gave advice and said what she would have and would not have worn," said Jones.
Fun fact: You'll be able to see her wedding gown twice in the movie—first when they get married, of course, and then a wonderful, tender moment at the end.
Watch a preview of The Theory of Everything below and catch the film in theaters starting Nov. 7.