Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush (The Kings Speech) is set to star as Albert Einstein in Genius, National Geographic Channel’s upcoming anthology series from Fox 21 TV Studios and Imagine Television.

Also joining the cast is Johnny Flynn (Clouds of Sils Maria), who will play Einstein in the years before he rose to international attention and acclaim.

Johnny Flynn
Associated Press

Imagine principal, Oscar-winning helmer Ron Howard, is set to direct the first episode of the series, whose maiden season will focus on famous physicist Albert Einstein, based on Walter Isaacson’s biography Einstein: His Life and Universe.

The 10-episode series 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 caliber of the Genius cast lives up to the show’s title,” said Carolyn Bernstein, EVP and head of global scripted development and production, National Geographic Channel. “The supremely talented Geoffrey Rush is dream casting for the role of Albert Einstein, and Johnny Flynn not only is an incredible talent but also bears more than a passing resemblance to Rush.”

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Rush received an Oscar, Golden Globe award, BAFTA award and Australian Film Institute Award for his breakout role as piano prodigy David Helfgott in Shine. He went on to co-star in Shakespeare in Love, Quills, The Kings Speech and the Pirates of Caribbean franchise. He also won an Emmy for his performance in the titular role of the television movie The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, and a Tony Award for lead actor in a play for Broadway’s Exit the King.

“It’s a testament to Ron, our team of creative partners and this fantastic material that we have put together such a powerhouse cast, led by the great Geoffrey Rush,” said Bert Salke, president of Fox 21 Television Studios.

Added Howard, “National Geographic’s unwavering commitment to excellence and their support and passion for this project has helped us attract talent such as Geoffrey and Johnny. My excitement for this project grows every day, and I cannot wait to get started.”

The series, from Fox 21, Imagine, OddLot Entertainment and EUE/Sokolow, 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. Noah Pink will also co-executive produce alongside showrunner Ken Biller.