(Photo: Tommaso Boddi / Getty Images)

The National Geographic Channel seems to be signaling that it’s ready to follow the rest of the basic cable community into the world of prestige dramas. The TV channel, which currently runs mostly documentaries and reality shows, will soon be hosting a 10-part anthology series on the life of Albert Einstein (the German-born theoretical physicist, not the L.A.-based actor/comedian). For Genius, the theory of relativity’s father will be played in part by Oscar-winning British actor Geoffrey Rush (Shine, Gods Of Egypt), Deadline reports. For his younger, pre-dorm-room-poster years, the one-time patent clerk will be portrayed by 33-year-old South African-born musician and actor Johnny Flynn (Clouds Of Sils Maria).

“The caliber of the Genius cast lives up to the show’s title,” Carolyn Bernstein, head of Nat Geo’s global scripted development and production, said in a statement. “The supremely talented Geoffrey Rush is dream casting for the role of Albert Einstein, and Johnny Flynn not only is an incredible talent but also bears more than a passing resemblance to Rush.”

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Ron Howard is expected to direct the first episode of the series, which, in its initial season, will be based on Walter Isaacson’s biography Einstein: His Life And Universe. Howard will also executive-produce alongside Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo. Subsequent seasons of Genius will presumably focus on other gifted people who changed the world with their ideas and/or by sticking out their tongues.

[via Deadline]