Audra McDonald will play the caring hospital nurse to Emma Thompson's cancer-stricken poetry professor in the HBO TV production of "Wit," Variety reported. Mike Nichols directs the film, based on Margaret Edson's Pulitzer Prize winning play. Shooting begins in London in the fall.
McDonald is currently up for a Tony Award for her performance in Marie Christine, and already has three Tonys on her mantle (for Master Class, Ragtime and Carousel). In 1999, she appeared as Grace in the TV movie of "Annie."
In the Off-Broadway production of Wit, directed by Derek Anson Jones, the nurse character memorably made contact with an unconscious professor Vivian Bearing by massaging her hands with lotion, one of several tiny, humane details in the staging by the late Jones.