Last year, New York City's Bat Theatre Company was a little-known Off-Off Broadway troupe headed up by artistic director Jim Simpson. But in December, when the theatre was still struggling in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, the company — just blocks from Ground Zero — workshopped The Guys penned by first-time playwright Anne Nelson. The play revitalized the little company with its big name casts and is now set to hit the big screen.
The Guys, based on Nelson's real experiences, is a dialogue between a fire captain — who has lost most of his men in the Sept. 11 attack — and an editor who helps him write the eulogies as she struggles herself to come to terms with the event. ContentFilm will finance, produce and distribute the screen version of the play.
Set to start filming on location in New York this month, the screen version will star Sigourney Weaver (Simpson's wife) and Anthony LaPaglia, former cast members of the stage production. Bat-man Simpson, who directed the play, adapted the screen version with some additions and will also take the helm for the film.
Simpson, in a released statement, said "I’m pleased that ContentFilm and Open City Films have embraced this unique project. The Guys puts a human face on this catastrophe and its intimacy should transfer well to the screen." Nelson concurred saying "I’m deeply gratified that a film version of The Guys can come to life through this team."
The Guys will also hit bookshelves in August as the play will be published by Random House. The paperback will also include two new essays by Nelson and photos from the theatrical production. Associate producer Erik Sniedze was happy to tell Playbill On-Line March 22 that "things are getting back to normal" for the company. The current cast of The Guys playing at The Flea Theatre, 41 White Street in Tribeca, are Swoosie Kurtz and Tim Robbins. Past casts included Bill Murray, Bill Irwin and Susan Sarandon.
Tickets are $55. Limited $15 tickets for fireman and Port Authority workers with ID. Rush Tickets ($25) are sold on the same day, based on availability. For reservations, call (212) 206-1515 or visit www.thebat.com.
— by Ernio Hernandez