National Geographic's Genius Delivers An Intriguing Look Into Einstein's Life

National Geographic Channel launches new series Genius and it has been getting rave reviews.

Academy Award- and Golden Globe-nominated actress Emily Watson (“Theory of Everything,” “The Book Thief”)  joins National Geographic Channel’s upcoming global anthology series GENIUS, from Fox 21 Television Studios (“Homeland,” “The People v. O.J. Simpson”), Imagine Television (“24,” “Empire”), OddLot Entertainment and EUE/Sokolow. She’ll play Elsa Einstein, the second wife — and first cousin — of the enigmatic scientist Albert Einstein, to be played in his elder years by Geoffrey Rush and in his younger years by Johnny Flynn, as was previously announced.

Also joining the cast are Michael McElhatton (“Game of Thrones”) as physicist Dr. Philipp Lenard, an early role model for a young Einstein, who evolved into his longtime adversary — both inside and outside the laboratory; Seth Gabel (“Salem,” “Fringe”) as Einstein’s longtime friend and confidant Michele Besso; Samantha Colley (“The Crucible”) as Mileva Maric, a fellow student of Einstein’s during his university years in Zurich, who later became his first wife and mother to his three children; Richard Topol (“Covert Affairs,” “Elementary”) as Fritz Haber, a brilliant chemist and close colleague of Einstein’s who held some nontraditional and controversial political views; and Vincent Kartheiser (“Mad Men,” “Saints & Strangers”) as Raymond Geist, a consulate official in Berlin.

British actress Emily Watson has been an acclaimed performer for two decades, and received her first Academy Award nomination for her first feature film, “Breaking the Waves,” in a role for which she also received Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations. Her second Academy Award nomination came a short two years later for “Hillary and Jackie,” and she quickly developed a reputation as one of Hollywood’s most reliable talents, with starring roles in the Frank McCourt adaptation “Angela’s Ashes,” the Hannibal Lecter series “Red Dragon” and the ensemble cast of “Gosford Park.” GENIUS will also mark an on-camera reunion with Rush, with whom she starred in the Emmy-winning television movie “The Life & Death of Peter Sellers.” Watson is represented by United Talent with Independent in London and attorney James Adams.

Michael McElhatton is a multi award-winning actor best known as Lord Roose Bolton from the last three seasons of HBO’s hit television series, “Game of Thrones.” He will next be seen in “Justice League” directed by Zack Snyder, Guy Richie’s “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” “The Zookeeper’s Wife” with Jessica Chastain, “Jadotville” with Jamie Dornan and Mark Strong, and “The Autopsy of Jane Doe” with Emile Hirsch. Other credits include “Ripper Street” and “The Fall,” both for BBC, as well as “Mammal” with Rachel Griffiths. He has an extensive list of theater credits and works often as a writer. McElhatton is represented by Gersh, Lisa Richards Agency in Ireland, and Curtis Brown, Ltd. in London.

Seth Gabel can currently be seen as Cotton Mather on the widely successful television series “Salem,” which earned him a highlight in The Hollywood Reporter’s Emmy issue in 2014. Prior to “Salem,” he played Count Vertigo on “Arrow” from Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg. Gabel is best known for playing Agent Lincoln Lee on “Fringe” and has also appeared on such hit shows as “American Horror Story,” “United State of Tara,” “Dirty Sexy Money” and “Nip/Tuck.” On the big screen, Gabel was the lead in “Allegiance,” playing a lieutenant in the U.S. National Guard, and in “Forever,” from the writers of “Walk the Line.” He also appeared in the film version of Dan Brown’s novel “The Da Vinci Code,” directed by Ron Howard. Gabel is represented by Management 360, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment and attorney Eric Suddleson.

Samantha Colley trained at the Oxford School of Drama, graduating in 2014. She went on to make her professional debut at the Old Vic Theatre, playing Abigail in “The Crucible” directed by YaĆ©l Farber, alongside Richard Armitage. Colley has also performed at the Young Vic Theatre and the Southwark Playhouse. Her television credits include ITV's “Endeavour” directed by Oliver Blackburn and "Victoria" directed by Tom Vaughan. She is represented by Jane Epstein of Independent Talent Group.

Richard Topol has made Broadway appearances in “Fish in the Dark” with Larry David, the Tony winning revivals of “The Normal Heart” and “Awake & Sing,” “The Merchant of Venice” with Al Pacino, “The Country Girl” directed by Mike Nichols, and “Julius Caesar” with Denzel Washington. He just closed Paula Vogel's new play “Indecent” off-Broadway. His film and TV credits include “Lincoln,” “Indignation,” “Mickey Blue Eyes,” “Great Gilly Hopkins” (upcoming), “Yinz” (upcoming), "Billions", “The Good Wife”, “Elementary”, “Person of Interest”, all the “Law & Order” series, “Gilmore Girls”, and recurring roles on “The Practice”, “Covert Affairs” and “Perception”. Topol is represented by Bret Adams, LTD.

Vincent Kartheiser was recently nominated for the 2016 Critics Choice Awards for his portrayal of William Bradford in National Geographic Channel’s “Saints & Strangers,” and is currently appearing in season two of the Golden Globe-nominated comedy “Casual,” executive produced by Jason Reitman. Kartheiser is best known for his incredible portrayal of Pete Campbell in the multi award-winning, critically acclaimed AMC series “Mad Men.” He starred in David Wain and Michael Showalter’s short film “The Second Sound Barrier” alongside Juliette Lewis. Most recently, Kartheiser can be seen in Brownstone Productions’ “The Most Hated Woman in America” opposite Melissa Leo. He also starred as the lead villain in Andrew Niccol’s “In Time” opposite Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried and Cillian Murphy and more recently in Zoe Cassavetes’ independent feature “Day out of Days.” Kartheiser is represented by Untitled Entertainment and Paradigm.

Each season of GENIUS will dramatize the fascinating stories of the world’s most brilliant innovators. The first season will be based on Walter Isaacson’s critically acclaimed book “Einstein: His Life and Universe,” adapted by writer Noah Pink. Through 10 episodes, GENIUS will chart how an imaginative, rebellious patent clerk, who couldn’t get a teaching job or a doctorate, unlocked the mysteries of the atom and the universe. Each episode will explore Einstein’s extraordinary scientific achievements, along with his volatile, passionate and complex personal relationships. The first episode will be directed by Imagine’s Ron Howard, his first time directing a scripted prime-time drama. Production begins next month in Prague, and will air in 2017 on the National Geographic Channel in 171 countries and 45 languages.

The series will be executive produced by Imagine’s Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Francie Calfo, and co-produced by Anna Culp; from OddLot Entertainment, Gigi Pritzker and Rachel Shane will executive produce and Melissa Rucker will co-produce; and Sam Sokolow and Jeff Cooney from EUE/Sokolow will also executive produce. Pink will also co-executive produce alongside showrunner Ken Biller, who is also an executive producer. For National Geographic Channels, Carolyn G. Bernstein is executive vice president and head of global scripted development and production.
To learn more, visit the official Genius website.

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