WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--National Geographic today released the network’s first-ever stand-alone spot for this Sunday’s championship football game, premiering immediately following Lady Gaga’s highly anticipated halftime show. The 45-second spot, entitled “Bad Romance,” teases the upcoming scripted series GENIUS, from executive producers Brian Grazer and Ron Howard and starring Geoffrey Rush as Albert Einstein (“The Kings Speech,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Shine”), Emily Watson (“Theory of Everything,” “The Book Thief”) as Elsa Einstein and Johnny Flynn (“Clouds of Sils Maria,” “Song One,” “Lovesick”) as younger Einstein. The official trailer for the series was released last month (watch here) and Rolling Stone recently declared the series one of the “25 Most Anticipated TV Shows of 2017.”
Premiering in the U.S. on Tuesday, April 25 (and around the world in 171 countries and 45 languages), GENIUS charts how Albert Einstein, an imaginative, rebellious patent clerk who struggled to land an academic post in his early years, went on to become the greatest scientific mind of the 20th century, all while juggling volatile, passionate and complex personal relationships. Ron Howard makes his prime-time television drama directorial debut with the series premiere episode airing April 25.
The commercial featuring Rush as Einstein, shot in Prague earlier this week, was created for National Geographic by ad agency McCann New York. The ad opens with Einstein in his study, picking up a violin, tapping into his well-known passion for playing Bach and Mozart.
As the spot continues, Einstein starts playing the most beautiful, frenzied sonata, and halfway through the commercial, viewers will recognize the piece as Lady Gaga’s hit song “Bad Romance” — although a version not heard like this before. The song “Bad Romance” subtly teases Einstein’s little-known lothario ways. In fact, Einstein once said, “Lasting harmony with a woman [was] an undertaking in which I twice failed rather disgracefully.”
Einstein plays the song with tremendous passion and emotion, exactly the way we imagine he would — while at the same time reflecting a sense of his tumultuous love life. The violin sings out harmoniously; there are moving rapid flashes of handwritten scientific equations symbolizing his rebellious, no-holds-barred approach to science. Einstein then abruptly stops, and as he sticks out his tongue — Einstein’s signature gesture — and we reveal the series premiere date of Tuesday, April 25.
“We are excited to take this opportunity to promote our first-ever global scripted series, GENIUS, starring Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson during one of America’s most-watched television events,” said Courteney Monroe, CEO, National Geographic Global Networks. “It’s a simple and engaging commercial that not only tapes into the zeitgeist of Lady Gaga’s highly anticipated halftime performance, but also perfectly represents the surprising side of Einstein the series captures. We hope it will cut through the noise, force viewers to take notice and give this broader audience a glimpse into the National Geographic brand of premium content.”
The spot was conceived by McCann New York and directed by acclaimed commercial director Ivan Zachariáš.
“We wanted to create a beautiful commercial that was true to the character of Albert Einstein,” said Eric Silver, Chief Creative Officer, North America, McCann. “We knew Einstein frequently played violin as a brainstorming technique. The timing of our placement immediately after Lady Gaga’s halftime performance felt like serendipity, giving us the perfect platform to bring the adored physicist to life in a memorable way.”
The first season of GENIUS is based on Walter Isaacson’s critically acclaimed book “Einstein: His Life and Universe.” GENIUS is executive produced by Imagine’s Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Francie Calfo, and co-produced by Anna Culp; showrunner, executive producer and writer is Ken Biller; from OddLot Entertainment, Gigi Pritzker and Rachel Shane are executive producers and Melissa Rucker is co-producer; Sam Sokolow and Jeff Cooney from EUE/Sokolow are also executive producers. Writer Noah Pink, who adapted the series for the screen, is co-executive producer. For National Geographic, Carolyn G. Bernstein is executive vice president and head of global scripted development and production.
About National Geographic Partners LLC:
National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between National Geographic and 21st Century Fox, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 128 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching over 730 million people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit natgeotv.com or nationalgeographic.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
GENIUS COMMERCIAL CREDITS:
Agency: McCann New York
Eric Silver: North American Chief Creative Officer
Tom Murphy: Co-chief Creative Officer
Johan Leandersson: Senior Art Director
Nathy Aviram: Chief Production Officer
Danielle Korn: Director, Broadcast Producer
Eric Johnson: Executive Music Producer
Rob Rawley: Global Account Director
Jennifer Prieto: Account Director
Steven Marchione: Senior Project Manager
Patrick Glaser: Account Executive
Sarah McCollom: Assistant Account Executive
Client: National Geographic
Courteney Monroe: CEO, National Geographic Global Networks
Jill Cress: Chief Marketing Officer
Chris Spencer: Creative Director
Andy Baker: Senior Vice President, Global Creative Director
Chris Albert: Executive Vice President, Global Communications and Talent Relations
Carolyn Bernstein: Executive Vice President; Head of Global Scripted Development and Production
Dennis Camlek: Executive Vice President, Strategy and Consumer Marketing
Production Company: SMUGGLER
Ivan Zachariáš: Director
Patrick Milling Smith: Partner
Brian Carmody: Partner
Allison Kunzman: Executive Producer
Andrew Colón: Head of Production
Nick Landon: Producer
Music Arrangement/Performer – Oli Langford
Music Supervision – JSM
Editorial Company: ROBOTA
Filip Malásek: Editor