Oscar-nominated British actor Clive Owen, most recently seen on Broadway in the Harold Pinter drama Old Times, has been chosen to play the central character of Rene Gallimard in the upcoming Broadway revival of David Henry Hwang’s Tony Award-winning drama, M. Butterfly, to be directed by Julie Taymor.
Producers announced that it will open October 26 at a theatre to be announced.
Owen will play a married French diplomat in China who carries on a 20-year affair with a mysterious Chinese opera singer—all without realizing that the singer is a man. Program notes describe the play as “a remarkable love story of international espionage and personal betrayal. Their 20-year relationship pushed and blurred the boundaries between male and female, east and west—while redefining the nature of love and the devastating cost of deceit.”
Producers said the author will introduce “new material inspired by the real-life love affair between French diplomat Bernard Boursicot and Chinese opera singer Shi Pei Pu that has come to light since the play’s 1988 premiere.”
Owen released a statement saying, “I could not be more excited to take on such a complex and fascinating role for my return to Broadway. M. Butterfly offers a novel challenge with its inherent mystery and astonishing storyline. I’m looking forward to diving into the mind of Rene Gallimard and I can think of no one better than the brilliant Julie Taymor to bring this wonderful, daring, original play to life.”
Additional casting and the design team will be announced at a later date.
In addition to his Best Play Tony Award for M. Butterfly, Hwang was nominated for Tonys two other times, for his play Golden Child and for his new libretto to Flower Drum Song for the 2003 revival. He was also named a Pulitzer Prize finalist for M. Butterfly and Yellow Face.
Director Julie Taymor won the 1998 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical and for Best Costumes for the still-running The Lion King. Her other Broadway credits include Juan Darien, Green Bird, and Spider Man: Turn Off the Dark.
M. Butterfly will be produced on Broadway by Nelle Nugent, Steve Traxler, Kenneth Teaton, Benjamin Feldman, and Doug Morris (CEO, Sony Music).