Brow Beat

Liam Neeson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Anna Kendrick, and More Audition to Be the New Voice of Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking has used the same iconic computerized voice for more than 30 years, but it’s time for a change. In a video from U.K. charity Comic Relief, Hawking, whose speech is limited due to ALS, held auditions to see who would provide his new voice, a part so coveted that the auditions drew everyone from Stephen Fry to Anna Kendrick to Miss Piggy.

Some celebrities chose to make use of their special talents in their auditions, with Lin-Manuel Miranda rapping and Andrew Lloyd Weber singing a Hawking-themed version of “Memory” from Cats. Others decided to make their case by appealing to the theoretical physicist’s scientific side, with mixed results. “Listen to my voice,” said Liam Neeson, moments before launching into his famous Taken monologue. “It’s deep, it’s sexy, it’s got a tinge of … physics.”

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Star Wars star John Boyega had an even more compelling argument. “I feel like I’m the best man for the job. The reason being, I’ve been to space before,” he said. “You talk about space. I’ve lived it.”

But despite the number of eager candidates, Hawking was very selective about who gets to speak for him—even Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne, stars of the actual movie about Hawking’s life, didn’t get the part. And while the acclaimed scientist did manage find a worthy, famous voice in the end (you’ll know it when you hear it), he missed a major opportunity to recruit the most obvious choice: Morgan Freeman. C’mon, Stephen.

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