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.