Stephen Hawking has been confined to a wheelchair for over 40 years. He has not been able to speak the way most people do since 1985. When he was first diagnosed with his disease, he was only expected to live two more years. He's not only beaten that, but beaten it soundly.
But Stephen Hawking has been in television shows, lectured extensively, and written eight books since then. Now he wants to tackle another role: Bond villain.
“My ideal role would be a baddie in a James Bond film. I think the wheelchair and the computer voice would fit the part,” Hawking told Wired Magazine recently.
Where most people see impediments to a fulfilling life, Stephen Hawking sees advantages. Even his speech synthesizer has become so much a part of his identity that he refuses to upgrade to a voice that would have a British accent more like his own.
“Before I lost my voice, it was slurred, so only those close to me could understand, but with the computer voice, I found I could give popular lectures. I was able to speak with a speech synthesizer, though it gave me an American accent. I have kept that voice, because it’s now my trademark,” Hawking said.
Hawking sees his work as important to the future of humanity.
“I enjoy communicating science,” he says. "It is important that the public understands basic science, if they are not to leave vital decisions to others.”
Hawking’s early days and love life are the subject of a new film called The Theory of Everything. It covers the period of time when he was first diagnosed with motor neuron disease while in undergrad at Cambridge. A walking, talking Hawking is played by Eddie Redmayne.