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Genius cast, crew talk Einstein's 'sex appeal' and 'history repeating itself'

Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, along with stars Johnny Flynn and Samantha Colley, discussed the NatGeo show last month

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This week marks 62 years since the death of one of the most famous figures of all time, Nobel Prize-winning physicist, Albert Einstein. But National Geographic’s debut scripted series, Genius — which centers on the man beneath that impressive head of hair — seems surprisingly relevant in today’s tumultuous world, despite its late 19th- and early 20th-century setting.

At last month’s South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, executive producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, along with stars Johnny Flynn and Samantha Colley — who portray the younger version of Einstein, and his first wife, Mileva Marić, respectively — discussed the forthcoming series and its timely relevance.

“Sadly, it’s largely history repeating itself,” said Howard when asked about how the show deals with a rise of extreme nationalism and totalitarianism, marked by the ascent of Adolf Hitler in 1920s Germany.

Watch the panel above for more about the series, including commentary from Colley about how her character pushes back against Einstein’s sexist assumptions. Genius premieres on April 25 on National Geographic at 9 p.m. ET.