Early on in the London stage production of “All About Eve,” Gillian Anderson’s Margo Channing removes her stage makeup in a bright dressing room mirror. As she swipes away the layers, Anderson’s face is projected in close-up on massive video screens, which magnify the actual lines and dark circles under her eyes.
It’s a moment of realization for the audience: This is no straightforward production. This is a story about seeing the truth in ourselves.
“A couple people have said, ‘You’re so brave,’ ” said Anderson, sitting in her basement dressing room at the Noel Coward Theatre. “So much of what we see of people these days is Photoshopped and filtered, so the fact that I’m allowing the audience to see all the nooks and crannies of my face is unusual. And I hadn’t thought about that until someone said it. I didn’t feel brave in doing it, at all.”
Anderson arrived at the role of Margo, the aging theater diva faced with a diminishing career and a potential rival in her young assistant, Eve Harrington (Lily James), by happenstance. Anderson’s boyfriend, writer Peter Morgan (“The Crown,” “Frost/Nixon”), had suggested she look into whether the 1950 Bette Davis-Anne Baxter film had ever been translated to the stage when she discovered theater director Ivo van Hove was already adaptating Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s screenplay.
“I was trying to find out what his plans were for how he was going to cast it,” Anderson recalled. “Then I found out that Cate Blanchett was doing it, and so I slowly backed into the shadows and thought, ‘Man, do I want to see that.’ ”
Blanchett, it would turn out, had a scheduling conflict. Anderson signed on, and her thoughtful performance has earned her a lead actress nomination for the Olivier Awards on Sunday.
The recognition comes despite the fact that the cast, which includes Monica Dolan and Julian Ovenden, had just four weeks to rehearse. Actors were instructed to arrive off-book on Day 1. There was almost no discussion of the text, so Anderson slowly worked out Margo’s mindset and motivations along the way, well into previews in early February. Part of the challenge was working with a camera crew that filmed the stage action live to be projected on the aforementioned video screens. (Van Hove did something similar in last year’s adaptation of “Network.”)
“I wasn’t nervous about the cameras, but what was very clear when we started out was that none of us quite knew what it was that we had,” Anderson said. “I know that’s always slightly the case because one’s never in the audience looking back, but for some reason with this I think we didn’t quite know how it fit together, or whether it all fit together, or what it was that we had until we’d been doing it properly for a while. And then something seeped in and we understood it.”
The gallery has been updated with HQ images from All About Eve from the recent press night & after party, as well as the opening night curtain call– many thanks to Lora for some of these. I’ve also added some gorgeous additional stills. Enjoy!
Production stills from the play, All About Eve, have now been released — courtesy of Evening Standard — it opens for its first preview tomorrow, February 2! The play runs from February 2 until May 11. I’ve also updated most of the rehearsal images with better quality versions & added several more. Gallery links & previews are below, enjoy!
Rehearsals for the stage play, All About Eve, are underway! Thus, I’ve added 004 gorgeous images from the rehearsals to the gallery (it looks so good!) Link & previews are below, enjoy!
All About Eve > Rehearsals
I’ve added several images to the gallery from a gorgeous new photoshoot for The Telegraph magazine; the accompanying interview is posted below. Enjoy!
Gillian Anderson is hard to pin down. Is she American or English? (Her accent slips between the two, depending on who she is talking to.) Guarded or warm? (She can be either, based on her mood.) Tough or vulnerable? (Or both?)
‘‘Because my parents were American and we lived here in the UK, there was always a sense of not quite fitting in. Because of that I’ve always felt a bit of an outsider. I have perpetuated that because that is what feels familiar to me, it is what feels comfortable,’ she explains.
When we meet Anderson is English and warm, talking about the birthday parties she has to organise (she has three children, Piper, 24, Oscar, 12, and Felix, 10); and although she is very petite, wearing white patent stiletto boots and slender black trousers, she exudes the commanding charisma that makes her perfect for her imminent roles.
Rumour has it that she will be playing Margaret Thatcher in an upcoming series of The Crown, the Netflix series created and co-written by her partner, Peter Morgan. No one is confirming this, but no one is denying it either.
Meanwhile, this month she stars in a new Netflix series, Sex Education, in which she plays a sex therapist who lives with her teenage son (Asa Butterfield). And in February Anderson has another plum role: Margo Channing in Belgian theatre director Ivo van Hove’s much-anticipated adaptation of All About Eve, also starring Lily James as Eve, with music by PJ Harvey.
The play – a modern reinterpretation of the 1950 film, which starred Bette Davis as Channing, a blazing Broadway star who is gradually supplanted by a younger rival – is about ambition and betrayal, femininity and anger, stardom and personal sacrifice.
Anderson’s is a bravura role, one that requires not just the cool intensity that we have come to expect from her, but also humour. Channing is deliciously droll, delivering endlessly quotable lines with comic precision (‘I’ll admit I may have seen better days, but I’m still not to be had for the price of a cocktail, like a salted peanut’).
‘A couple of years ago my boyfriend Pete said to me, “You know what would be a great role for you? Margo Channing,”’ Anderson says. ‘So I rewatched the film and I thought, “Oh my God, how much fun would that be!”’
Anderson, not one to wait for opportunity, discovered that theatre producer Sonia Friedman had the rights to the script and was working on it with van Hove – Cate Blanchett was set to be Channing. ‘So I thought, “Ah OK, I’ll just slink into the background.” Then my agents got a call to say that she [Blanchett] had backed out due to scheduling conflicts, and there was interest, and was I interested? So I was like, “Yes! When’s the meeting? Now?”’
Van Hove, on the phone from New York, is equally excited to be working with Anderson. ‘Margo needs someone who understands what the theatre is all about, someone who can carry a play, who can occupy the whole stage, and Gillian can do that; she is a fabulous theatre actress. Although, of course, she became iconic for me in the 1990s when she was in The X-Files.’
There is something a little surprising about Ivo van Hove, an avant-garde director celebrated for his reinterpretations of plays and operas such as Hedda Gabler, Antigone and Lulu, professing fandom for a mid-’90s sci-fi series; but that is to forget the huge cultural impact of The X-Files, its quality and its ingenuity.
The series was about two FBI agents, played by Anderson and David Duchovny, who attempt to unravel various natural and supernatural mysteries. No one expected it to become such a success, least of all Anderson, who was 24 when she was cast in the show. It was her first major role and it made her a star.
She won multiple awards for her portrayal of the sceptical Dr Dana Scully, including an Emmy and a Golden Globe. But such stardom often involves sacrifice and Anderson was suffering.
The promotional images for the upcoming stage adaptation of All About Eve have been released & tickets shall go on sale from Friday, September 28, 2018! More details are posted below, along with previews & the gallery link.
Gillian Anderson and Lily James will return to the London stage next year for an adaptation of All About Eve.
The iconic 1950 Oscar-winning film, which starred Bette Davis and and Marilyn Monroe, will be directed and adapted by acclaimed theatre maker Ivo van Hove, with original music by PJ Harvey. Van Hove’s long-time collaborator Jan Versweyveld will design the production.
Anderson, who picked up the Evening Standard Theatre Award for best actress in 2014 for A Streetcar Named Desire , will play the role of Broadway diva Margo Channing. The role remains one of Davis’ most iconic performances, in the first and only film to receive four female acting nominations.
James, last seen on stage opposite Richard Madden in Romeo & Juliet, will play Channing’s number one fan, Eve Harrington. She recently starred in one of the biggest films of the summer, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again , playing a younger version of Meryl Streep’s character Donna.
The cast will also include BAFTA-winner Monica Dolan, Sheila Reid and Rhashan Stone, with more casting yet to be announced.
The production will open at the Noel Coward Theatre on February 2, 2019, for a limited 14 week run. Tickets go on general sale on September 28 at 10am.
Source: GO London
It’s official! Gillian is returning to the stage next year!
Tony-winning Belgian director Ivo van Hove will reimagine the classic Joseph L. Mankiewicz tale of Broadway backstabbers at London’s Noel Coward Theatre in February.
Lily James has signed on to play a famous screen character whose name has become a synonym for calculating climbers, Eve Harrington.
London entertainment-news columnist Baz Bamigboye broke the casting scoop in the Daily Mail this week that James will star opposite the previously reported Gillian Anderson as imperious New York stage diva Margo Channing in Belgian experimental theater director Ivo van Hove’s upcoming adaptation of the classic backstage drama All About Eve.
The production originally was scheduled to open early this year on London’s West End, with Cate Blanchett announced to play Margo, but the Australian Oscar winner dropped out due to scheduling conflicts, putting the play on hold.
The project, presented by Sonia Friedman Productions and Fox Theatricals, is now on track to begin rehearsals in January, with performances starting the following month at the Noel Coward Theatre. Other key roles, including reptilian theater columnist Addison DeWitt, remain to be cast.
The celebrated 1950 Joseph L. Mankiewicz film starred Bette Davis in one of her signature roles as Margo, with Anne Baxter as the fawning acolyte whose devotion flatters the older woman, leaving her vulnerable to ambitious Eve’s opportunism. The movie was nominated for 14 Oscars and won six, including best picture.
Van Hove has become something of a specialist at retooling movies for the stage, mounting expressionist productions based on the works of Ingmar Bergman, John Cassavetes, Luchino Visconti and Pier Paolo Pasolini.
… Given Friedman’s track record and the iconic stature of the screen property, it seems a safe bet that All About Eve is being eyed as another potential Broadway vehicle. The New York theater community also is eager to see van Hove return to Broadway after his back-to-back successes in the 2015-16 theater season with Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge and The Crucible, the former winning him a Tony for best direction of a play.
… Anderson’s extensive stage credits include playing Blanche DuBois in a 2014 London production of A Streetcar Named Desire, which she reprised two years later in New York, starring opposite Ben Foster and Vanessa Kirby. Anderson and James both appeared in the 2016 BBC miniseries War & Peace.
Baz Bamigboye of The Daily Mail has reported that Academy Award winning actor, Cate Blanchett, has departed an upcoming stage adaptation of the classic film All About Eve.
According to Baz, Blanchett was forced to drop the project due to a scheduling conflict. Star Gillian Anderson is currently in talks to join the cast in the iconic role of Margot Channing.
The adaptation, which will be directed by Tony Award winner, Ivo van Hove is expected to arrive on the West End in early 2019. The play will be produced by Sonia Friedman Productions and Fox Stage Productions.
The 1950 film, All About Eve, is written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, based on the short story “The Wisdom of Eve,” by Mary Orr, and stars Bette Davis as Margo Channing, the prominent yet aging Broadway star. Anne Baxter plays Eve Harrington, a willingly helpful young fan who insinuates herself into Channing’s life, threatening Channing’s career and personal relationships. All About Eve was nominated for 14 Academy Awards and won 6, including Best Picture.
Ivo Van Hove won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play for ARTHUR MILLER’S A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE. As General Director of Holland’s leading theatre company Toneelgroep Amsterdam, Ivo Van Hove has staged many internationally acclaimed productions, including, in New York: Alice in Bed, More Stately Mansions (Obie Award), A Streetcar Named Desire, Hedda Gabler (Obie), The Misanthrope, The Little Foxes, and Scenes From a Marriage, all at the New York Theatre Workshop; Roman Tragedies, Cries and Whispers, Opening Night, Angels in America, and Antigone at BAM; and Teorema at the Lincoln Center Festival.
Source: Broadway World