Back then, the pair came under pressure to jettison the stage production’s leading actor, Nigel Hawthorne, in favor of a bankable Hollywood name (Hytner once told me that Al Pacino was the studio’s favorite). Hawthorne was dismayed at the prospect, especially as he had recently missed out on another stage hit, Shadowlands, when he’d been forced to relinquish the role of C.S. Lewis to Anthony Hopkins. However, Hytner and Bennett stuck to their star, and Hawthorne won his battle (and an Oscar nomination). Now Hytner and Bennett are in a similar situation, according to the Daily Mail newspaper. They have insisted that the film version of The History Boys will not go ahead unless every single cast member is included, from Richard Griffiths to each of the boys. The Mail reports that a new character may also be written into the prospective movie.
If Hytner directs, it will be his first film since taking over the National: 1994’s “The Madness of King George,” as the play was titled on screen, and 1996’s “The Crucible” with Daniel Day-Lewis remain his highest-profile efforts.