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Can the Biopic Subject Speak? Disembodied Voice in The King's Speech and The Theory of Everything Open Access Deposited

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“Can you hear me?” asks Stephen Hawking towards the end of The Theory of Everything. Slumping in a motorized wheelchair, theoretical physicist Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) poses the question in a monotonic, computer-generated voice with staccato quality to an eager audience through his speech synthesizer. Even though he is physically present, his disembodied voice fills the auditorium in ways that suggest both his earth-bound reality and transcendental status. The question “can you hear me” is a profound moment that invites various levels of interpretation.

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