Miramax Films has joined the production team for Broadway's The Real Thing, set to start previews March 29 for an opening April 17 at the Barrymore Theatre. The film company joins Anita Waxman, Elizabeth Williams, Ron Kastner and Associated Capital Theatre, Ltd. on the project.
Miramax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein told Variety he'd already been fond of several of the show's principals, including author Tom Stoppard and stars Stephen Dillane and Jennifer Ehle. "But after attending three performances of The Real Thing at the Donmar Warehouse last summer, I fell in love with this production," Weinstein said. The company and Universal Pictures already own the film rights to the play. Variety notes that sources are saying Miramax may invest in other plays, but only as a co-financing partner.
The Real Thing was to have moved into the Belasco Theatre on March 29, but with the Belasco's current tenant, The Dead, recently extending to an open run, the Stoppard show was shifted over to the similar-sized Barrymore (according to a production source, always the producers first choice of theatre).
Actors Dillane and Ehle opened in the Donmar revival of Stoppard's 1982 comedy June 2, 1999 (following previews from May 27). They, alongside fellow Donmar-mates Sarah Woodward and Nigel Lindsay, will be part of the Broadway company. The production, which ran through Aug. 7 and is currently playing the West End, was sold out. The Real Thing deals with love, marriage and adultery. In shifting perspectives, couples founder and reform, and joy and passion are acutely countered by pain and deception.
Dillane, star of the feature film "Welcome to Sarajevo," plays Henry. Dillane returned to the Donmar following his role last year in Endgame. Ehle, who plays Annie, is best known for her film features such as the recently released "This Year's Love" and her television roles in serials such as BBC1's "Pride and Prejudice," for which she won a BAFTA award for Best Actress in 1996.
The Real Thing is directed by David Leveaux, newly appointed as an associate director of the Donmar Warehouse. Stoppard's comedy was his third production for the theatre, following the musical Nine in 1996 and the 1997 Olivier Award-winning production of Electra, starring Zoe Wanamaker, which also transferred to Broadway. Design is by Vicky Mortimer, with lighting by Mark Henderson and sound by John A Leonard.
Stoppard won both an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award for his screenplay for the film "Shakespeare in Love." His recent theatre work includes Arcadia (Evening Standard Award for Best Play, 1993), Indian Ink (1995) and The Invention of Love (Evening Standard Award for Best Play, 1997).
For tickets and information on The Real Thing at the Barrymore Theatre, 243 West 47th St., call (212) 239-6200.