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Genius (stylized as Genius.) is an American anthology period drama television series developed by Noah Pink and Kenneth Biller that premiered on April 25, 2017 on National Geographic.

The first season follows the life of scientist Albert Einstein and aired from April 25 to June 20, 2017; the season is based on the 2007 book Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson.

In April 2017, National Geographic renewed the series for a second season, which follows the life of artist Pablo Picasso and aired from April 24 to June 19, 2018.

In April 2018, National Geographic renewed the series for a third season, which is set to follow the life of American singer Aretha Franklin and will premiere in early 2020.

Overview

Einstein (2017)

Main article: Genius: Einstein

Based on Walter Isaacson's Einstein: His Life and Universe, the season chronicles two periods in the life of Albert Einstein (Geoffrey Rush & Johnny Flynn). The first as a patent clerk struggling to gain a teaching position and doctorate, the second as a scientist respected for his development of the theory of relativity.

The season also stars Samantha Colley as Mileva Marić, Richard Topol as Fritz Haber, Michael McElhatton as Philipp Lenard, Emily Watson as elder Elsa Einstein, Gwendolyn Ellis as younger Elsa, and Ralph Brown as Max Planck.

Picasso (2018)

Main article: Genius: Picasso

The second season chronicles two periods in the life of Pablo Picasso (Antonio Banderas & Alex Rich). The first as a young man first discovering his talent, the second as a celebrated artist struggling with the rise of fascism and the price of fame.

The season also stars Clémence Poésy as Françoise Gilot and Samantha Colley as Dora Maar, with special guest appearances of Poppy Delevingne as Marie-Thérèse Walter and T.R. Knight as Max Jacob.

Production

Development

On April 28, 2016, it was announced that National Geographic had given the production a straight-to-series order, its first ever scripted series. The series was set to be based on the biography Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson and adapted by Noah Pink, who was also expected to co-executive produce. Executive producers were announced to include Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Francie Calfo, Gigi Pritzker, Rachel Shane, Sam Sokolow, and Jeff Cooney. Anna Culp was set to co-produce alongside Melissa Rucker. Ron Howard was expected to direct the first episode of the series. Production companies involved with the series were set to include Imagine TV, Fox 21 TV Studios, OddLot Entertainment and EUE/Sokolow.

Casting

Season One

In August 2016, it was announced that Geoffrey Rush and Johnny Flynn would star in the series as Albert Einstein both as an old man and as a young adult, respectively. Additionally, it was reported that Emily Watson would also star in the series and that Michael McElhatton, Seth Gabel, Samantha Colley, Richard Topol, and Vincent Kartheiser had joined the cast. In November 2016, it was announced that Shannon Tarbet, Claire Rushbrook, and Robert Lindsay had been cast in recurring roles. On February 2, 2017, it was reported that T. R. Knight had been cast in the recurring role of J. Edgar Hoover.

Season Two

On September 6, 2017, it was announced that Antonio Banderas would star in the second season as Pablo Picasso. On November 2, 2017, it was reported that Alex Rich would co-star in the series sharing the lead role of Picasso. It was further reported that Clémence Poésy, Robert Sheehan, Poppy Delevingne, Aisling Franciosi, and Sebastian Roché also joined the cast and that Samantha Colley, T. R. Knight, Seth Gabel, and Johnny Flynn were returning from season one in new roles.

Filming

Principal photography for season one took place in mid-2016 in Prague. Filming for season two began in November 2017 in Malaga and was expected to take place for over five months in various cities around the world, including Barcelona, Paris, and Budapest.

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