McKellen stars in the title role with Hopkins as the actor-manager, known as Sir. Also appearing in the cast are Emily Watson, Vanessa Kirby and Edward Fox, the latter of whom had a role in the Oscar-nominated 1983 film version of the play. Sir Richard Eyre directs.
The Dresser, about a lead actor’s relationship with his dresser, was inspired by Harwood’s own time working as a dresser for Donald Wolfit. The play was made into a successful film starring Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay in 1983.
The Dresser was seen on Broadway in 1981 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, co-starring Tom Courtenay as Norman and Paul Rogers as Sir. Directed by Michael Elliott, the production received Tony nominations for Best Play and Best Actor in a Play (Courtenay).
The new BBC/Starz adaptation is intended as part of a series about life backstage.