Seizing a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," actors like Lin-Manuel Miranda, Liam Neeson, Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and Eddie Redmayne (who played the renowned physicist in 2014's The Theory of Everything) audition to become Hawking's new voice. They all fail for a variety of reasons, including massive egos, bumbling delivery and complete lack of scientific knowledge.
"Stephen, it's me – surely it has to be me," Neeson says in his mock-audition tape. "Listen to my voice. It's deep; it's sexy; it's got a tinge of…physics." Miranda tried to tap into Hawking's artistic side, showcasing the same rapping skill that helped propel Hamilton to Broadway fame. "You're Stephen Hawking from Cambridge College/ But your voice is mad robotic if I'm being honest," he rhymed.
Hawking ultimately side-stepped the auditions altogether, selecting one of cinema's most instantly recognizable voices: Michael Caine.
The video promotes Comic Relief's Red Nose Day, an annual fundraising campaign celebrated March 24th in the U.K. and May 25th in the U.S. BBC One will air a special program featuring live comedy, sketches and music tonight at 7 p.m. U.K. time.