Stars including Liam Neeson, Rebel Wilson and Anna Kendrick have auditioned to become Stephen Hawking’s new voice in a comedy sketch for Britain’s Comic Relief fundraising drive.
The award-winning physicist, who suffers from motor neurone disease, is no stranger to appearing in popular culture, making cameos in everything from cartoon series The Simpsons to Star Trek: The Next Generation.
For British charity Comic Relief’s fundraising day this year (17) Stephen has appeared in a sketch in which he is searching for someone to replace his iconic voice, which he has had for over 30 years. In the video, set up like a mockumentary, a host of famous names jump at the chance to lend their vocals, starting with Taken star Liam Neeson.
“Stephen, it’s me,” the Irishman says. “Surely it has to be me. Listen to my voice – it’s deep, it’s sexy, it’s got a tinge of physics.”
Pitch Perfect actress Rebel Wilson follows, telling the camera she’s reading for the role of “Stefan” Hawking. Commenting on how smart he is, she jokes she and Stephen would be a perfect match.
Her co-star Anna Kendrick then appears, insisting she is the “obvious choice” for the job, listing her intelligence and being “young and cool” as reasons why she should do it.
Popstar Kylie Minogue even auditions for the part, filming her segment from a warm, sunny location.
“I am a science addict,” she smiles. “All my songs are about it… Spinning Around, it’s about centrifugal force.”
Other mock auditionees include Eddie Redmayne, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of Stephen in 2015’s The Theory of Everything, and his co-star Felicity Jones, who played Stephen’s ex-wife Jane. Star Wars: The Force Awakens star John Boyega gives it a go too, as does Muppet Miss Piggy and Andrew Lloyd Webber, who jokingly mistakes the task for writing Stephen a musical.
Stephen previously appeared in a Comic Relief sketch back in 2015 alongside comedians David Walliams and Catherine Tate. This year’s Red Nose Day telethon event takes place on Friday evening (24Mar17), and raises funds for thousands of charities around the world.