Langella Bags Presidential Role For Frost/Nixon Movie; Sheen Will Be Frost

News   Langella Bags Presidential Role For Frost/Nixon Movie; Sheen Will Be Frost Frank Langella has reportedly beaten Warren Beatty and Kevin Spacey to the role of the disgraced U.S. President in the movie version of Peter Morgan's Frost/Nixon.

Frank Langella as Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon.
Frank Langella as Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon.

The Broadway version of the London hit, starring Langella as Nixon and Michael Sheen as Frost, opened at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre April 22 following previews that began March 31.

London's Daily Mail also reports that Sheen is confirmed in the role of Frost for the movie version.

Studio bosses had wanted a film star name to play Nixon, which is why director Ron Howard originally approached Beatty. But Beatty, the London paper reveals, is said to have put off movie executives with his "oscillating behavior."

The paper also reports that Kevin Spacey was so keen to get the role that the Old Vic artistic director sent an audition video of himself playing Nixon.

Michael Grandage, who directed the London production, has repeated his work for Broadway. In addition to Langella and Sheen, Frost/Nixon also features Remy Auberjonois (as John Birt); Shira Gregory (as Evonne Goolagong); Corey Johnson (as Jack Brennan); Stephen Kunken (as Jim Reston); Stephen Rowe (as Swifty Lazar/Mike Wallace); Triney Sandoval (as Manolo Sanchez); Armand Schultz (as Bob Zelnick); and Sonya Walger (as Caroline Cushing). About his role as the disgraced former president, Langella recently told Playbill Magazine, "I’ve come to be incredibly empathetic — rather than sympathetic — with Nixon, very protective of him. Not of the event — Watergate — not of what he did that was wrong, nothing to do with whether he behaved in a possibly illegal way. He did. But I can't play the event. I have to play a man — a man who, after months of research and talking with his employees, I've come to know and understand. I've come to have compassion for a man who was very unhappy in his own soul, a man unable to breathe the very air most humans breathe, a man who on a daily basis would wake up with what he calls the voices in his head, the overwhelming ambition, the driving need to succeed."

Frost/Nixon earned three recent Olivier Award nominations including Best New Play. British Sheen and American Langella (a two-time Tony Award winner) were also Olivier-nominated (separately) in the category of Best Actor.

According to the producers, "Frost/Nixon tackles the question: How did David Frost, a famous British talk-show host with a playboy reputation, elicit the apology that the rest of the world was waiting to hear from former President Richard Nixon? The fast-paced new play shows the determination, conviction and cunning of two men as they square off in one of the most monumental political interviews of all time."

Designs for Frost/Nixon are by Christopher Oram, with lighting by Neil Austin, and the music and sound score by Adam Cork. Video design is by Jon Driscoll.

Frost/Nixon is produced on Broadway by Matthew Byam Shaw, Arielle Tepper Madover, Robert Fox and Act Productions.

Performances play Tuesday-Saturday at 8 PM, Wednesday and Saturday at 2 PM, Sunday at 3 PM.

Tickets, priced $76.25 and $96.25, are available by calling (212) 239-6200 or by visiting www.telecharge.com. The Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre is located in Manhattan at 242 West 45th Street. For more information visit www.frostnixononbroadway.com.