When it comes to trailers at the Super Bowl, the field is usually reserved for blockbuster movies and highly-anticipated television shows on notable networks. To put it simply, an advertisement for National Geographic's new series about Albert Einstein is not the typical Super Bowl trailer. And yet, during Super Bowl LI viewers will get a look at the channel's new series and likely immediately wonder, "Who is playing Einstein in Genius?"
There's no better time to premiere an advertisement than the Super Bowl, where it will be seen by upwards of 100 million viewers tuning in to the big game and chowing down on an alarming amount of wings. The reveal of a big-name actor inhabiting the role of possibly the most famous scientist of all time is truly a Super Bowl-worthy announcement. However, it's easy to come away from the ad and not know who exactly is playing Einstein. More than anything, the big hair and the iconic mustache do a good job of hiding the actor's identity.
Even if it's not clear from the trailer, the actor playing Einstein will almost certainly be familiar to anyone who's seen a major film at any point in the last decade. The famous scientist is portrayed by none other than esteemed actor Geoffrey Rush, according to Vanity Fair.
The ad showcases Rush, as Einstein, playing Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" on the violin — a nod to Lady Gaga being the halftime performer for Super Bowl LI — before turning to the camera to re-create one of Einstein's most iconic images. Genius will likely not feature Rush playing much Lady Gaga as it tells the life of the iconic physicist, but it's an eye-popping way to introduce the world to Rush's performance of the well-respected and often quirky Einstein.
The decorated Australian actor has won awards from the Oscars, Emmys, and Tonys — which should be more than enough to relieve any doubts about him portraying Einstein. His breakout role was in the 1996 film Shine, for which he won nearly every Best Actor award under the sun. His most visible roles have included playing the villainous Hector Barbossa in Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, speech therapist Lionel Logue in The King's Speech, and Philip Henslowe in Shakespeare In Love. This will be Rush's first time anchoring an American television series, but with a résumé as impressive as Rush's there should be no worries of him doing any disservice to the legacy of Albert Einstein.
While Geoffrey Rush is playing the older, wizened Einstein that most are familiar with, he's joined in the show by actor Johnny Flynn who will portray the scientist in his younger years. Flynn is most known for his performance as Dylan in the television series Lovesick, which technically makes him more experienced in recent television than Rush who hasn't anchored a television series since the Australian show Mercury in 1996.
Genius brings together two accomplished actors to tell the amazing story of the scientist who revolutionized the way people look at the world — and the network may just revolutionize the way people look at Einstein, too.