Dr. Hawking was as big a superstar in the world of entertainment as he was in the scientific world. Renowned for his killer sense of humor, the theoretical physicists once jokingly said in an interview with Wired’s U.K. edition: “My ideal role would be a baddie in a James Bond film. I think the wheelchair and the computer voice would fit the part.” The world’s most loved scientist, who appeared in many works of popular culture, did in fact get a chance to play the role of an ultimate baddie. In 2016, British automaker Jaguar made a commercial for its F-Pace SUV that featured Dr. Hawking. Although the villainy of Hawking’s character is not mentioned outright in the advert but it follows the same theme, along with the music, as the previous “British Villain” commercial by Jaguar to promote its F-Type sports car.
Just like the 2015 British Villain advert that featured the trio of Tom Hiddleston, Mark Strong and Ben Kingsley, the F-Pace commercial stresses on how it’s “good to be bad.” An unknown lead actor can be seen driving the premium crossover sportily, and then reaching the kingpin’s den somewhere in the snowed-out mountains where he is greeted by the same blonde assistant from the previous ad named “Mary.” That’s where the evil genius enters!
“We’re the masters of time and space,” says the lead actor after being shown a loop-the-loop, and Hawking finishes: “And we all drive Jaguars. Ha ha ha.” The commercial is the work of Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper, who was also behind other British Villain commercials. Professor Hawking, who died this week, was restricted to a wheelchair due to a motor neuron disease from the age of 22. After the initial diagnosis, the doctors predicted Hawking had only two years to live. Defying all odds, he survived five decades longer than doctors had expected and went on to become one of the most renowned and successful scientists the world has ever seen. Demolishing the ivory tower of academia’s high walls, he made science more approachable and likeable for the masses, inspiring millions to take interest in demystifying the secrets of space. With him gone, the massive void in his absence may never be filled. Thank you, Dr. Stephen Hawking!