Philip Seymour Hoffman, Hugo Weaving and Cate Blanchett Highlight Sydney Theatre Co. Season

News   Philip Seymour Hoffman, Hugo Weaving and Cate Blanchett Highlight Sydney Theatre Co. Season Academy Award winners and stage stalwarts Philip Seymour Hoffman and Cate Blanchett will direct works in Australia's upcoming Sydney Theatre Company season. Fellow film star Hugo Weaving will appear in the Hoffman staging.

Hoffman directs STC veteran Weaving ("The Lord of the Rings," "The Matrix") in Andrew Upton's Riflemind (Oct. 5-Nov. 18). Blanchett will stage David Harrower's Blackbird (Dec. 15, 2007-Jan. 26, 2008).

In Riflemind, Weaving appears as the former frontman (for the title band) whose past comes back to haunt him when the group meets again to discuss a reunion tour at his current country home.

Blackbird centers on the confrontation of a 27-year-old woman and the 56-year old middling factory executive with whom she had an affair 15 years ago.

Hoffman will next appear as an actor Off-Broadway in Jack Goes Boating opposite Beth Cole, Daphne Rubin-Vega and his LAByrinth Theater Company co-artistic director John Ortiz. The "Capote" Oscar winner previously garnered praise on Broadway for his Tony Award-nominated turns in A Long Day's Journey Into Night and True West. Known for his work on such films as "Boogie Nights," "Flawless," "Magnolia," "State and Main" and "Mission Impossible: III" among others, Hoffman has also directed for the stage. Among his directorial credits are Rebecca Gilman's Pulitzer Prize finalist The Glory of Living and Stephen Adly Guirgis' The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Our Lady of 121st Street and Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train.

Blanchett — who recently starred in Hedda Gabler at New York's Brooklyn Academy of Music — is known worldwide for her film work in "Elizabeth," "The Talented Mr. Ripley," "Veronica Guerin," "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou," "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and her Academy Award-winning turn in "The Aviator." She is again Oscar-nominated for her work in the Patrick Marber-penned "Notes on a Scandal" and also appears in the films "Babel" and "The Good German." A Sydney Theatre Company veteran, she has appeared in Caryl Churchill's Top Girls, Timothy Daly's Kafka Dances and David Mamet's Oleanna at the venue. She also appeared on the London stage in David Hare's Plenty. Weaving co-starred with Blanchett in Hedda Gabler. He has previously appeared on the Sydney Theatre Company stage in The Real Thing, Macbeth, The Perfectionist, The Cherry Orchard and Arcadia. The star garnered acclaim for his turn in the film "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" and subsequently in "The Matrix" and "The Lord of the Rings" trilogies as well as "V for Vendetta" and in voice on "Happy Feet."

Blanchett and her writer-husband Andrew Upton will become the new artistic directors of the Sydney Theatre Company at the end of 2007. The duo recently directed the STC double-bill of Harold Pinter's A Kind of Alaska (Blanchett's directorial debut) and David Mamet's Reunion (Upton) which ended its extended run Jan. 20.

Upton provided the translation for the Hedda Gabler that his wife starred in in Sydney and in New York. He has also adapted Edmond Rostand's Cyrano De Bergerac and (with Marion Potts) Molière's Don Juan for the company. His original works include The Hanging Man, Death and Taxes and Gatt The Fax. He also penned the screenplays for "Bangers," "Blue Eyes," "Foucault's Pendulum," "Gone" and is currently at work on "Duplicate Keys."

Blanchett and Upton confirmed they would continue to act and write with the company, saying in a release, "As a team we come to the role as joint artistic directors first and foremost as an actress and a playwright. Both of us are passionate about the theatrical artform in all its mad variety."

The full 2007 season lineup can be found on the STC website at sydneytheatre.com.au.