Universal Pictures won a bidding war for the rights to adapt Peter Morgan's play, Variety reported. According to the trade, Howard and Universal have agreed to shoot the project "following the show's West End and Broadway transfers."
No Broadway transfer has been announced officially, but talk has been circulating ever since the show opened to rave reviews in August. American producer Arielle Tepper, who is attached to the project, told Playbill.com Sept. 22 that there were no plans at present to bring the play to New York.
A Broadway transfer would be easy in one respect. One of the show's two stars is Frank Langella, an American whose trans-Altantic jump Actors' Equity would not object to. Langella plays Nixon to the Frost of British actor Michael Sheen.
Morgan will adapt the work for the screen. The film will be jointly produced by Working Title and Imagine Entertainment. Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan will produce for Working Title, Brian Grazer for Imagine.
Langella is best known for his Broadway role as Dracula (1979). He recently appeared in George Clooney's "Good Night and Good Luck." He made his Broadway debut in the 1960s and won his first Tony Award for Edward Albee's Seascape (1975). His roles onstage have included Strindberg (The Father) to Noel Coward (Present Laughter). He has also been a regular at The New York Shakespeare Festival. Other Broadway credits include Amadeus and Turgenev's Fortune's Fool (2002, adapted by English writer Mike Poulton) in which he played opposite Alan Bates and for which he won a second Tony. Sheen returns to the Donmar following his Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor in the title role of Caligula. His other stage credits include The U.N. Inspector at the National, and Amadeus in Peter Hall’s 1999 revival of Peter Shaffer's Tony-winning play.
Morgan's most high-profile work, written for British television, was also political. Called "The Deal," the piece was a fictionalized account of the leadership deal struck before the 1997 British General Election between Prime Minister hopefuls and Labour MPs, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.