Cook is a rising star of the British theatre scene, having risen through the Royal Court ranks to be an associate director of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Playbill On-Line quizzed him about the allure of directing screen stars in the West End: Playbill On-Line: You’ve worked most recently and most often in the subsidized sector. Do you feel that to be a successful director these days you have to take on at least one show with a screen star in the lead?
Dominic Cook: I don’t think it’s the only way to be successful, but I’m very much looking forward to this show.
PBOL: But does the West End need the box-office clout of screen stars to bring in new audiences?
DC: Again, it’s not the only way. Some of the most successful recent shows, like After Mrs.Rochester, haven’t had huge stars, but word of mouth has been good and kept them on. However, screen stars are one way of attracting new audiences. We must be selective, not all movie actors are able to do well on stage. But there are some big names who choose to work in theatre as well and are very good at it, and that can be fantastic. This Marina Carr play, for instance, will get an audience on a scale that it has never had, because of its leading lady. That’s one strand of the West End’s appeal. It would be a disaster if it was the only strand.
Playbill: Are there other screen stars with whom you’re itching to work?
DC: Philip Seymour Hoffman. I came close to bringing him to the Royal Court but it fell through. But as well as being a huge name he’s a real theatre animal, one of the most exciting actors around. That’s a dream of mine.