Everyone needs a little change in their lives from time to time -- even science legend Stephen Hawking. After decades of communicating via a computerized speech synthesizer, Hawking recently auditioned A-list actors and leaders around the world to temporarily update his voice.
From Liam Neeson to Lin-Manuel Miranda to Bill Gates, some of the world’s most successful people competed for the “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
As the video below shows, Hawking was ruthless in his reviews of the audition tapes. In Gates’s video, the Microsoft co-founder exclaims, “I mean, who wouldn’t want to sound like me!” Hawking’s response? “Not a chance!”
Even Eddie Redmayne, who played Hawking in the biopic The Theory of Everything, auditioned for the role. Redmayne jokingly asked, “So … what is it? Like a sequel?”
Hawking wasn’t sold on Taken star Neeson, either, even though Neeson explained to the professor, “Surely it’s got to be me. Listen to my voice. It’s deep, it’s sexy, it’s got a tinge of … physics.”
Hawking went on to reject various other members of the Hollywood elite, with criticisms such as, “it’s not looking good” and “I’d sound like an idiot if that was my voice,” before selecting one of the world’s most recognizable British voices -- Michael Caine.
Caine stood onstage at an event for Comic Relief’s biannual Red Nose Day fundraiser and spoke on behalf of Hawking. The audition videos promoted Red Nose Day, which aims to help struggling people in countries around the world.