5 March 2013

From Stage To Screen And Back Again (Broken Feature)

This Friday will see the release of Rufus Norris Award winning British Independent drama Broken will hit the UK Cinemas.the UK indie which boasts a strong cast of Tim Roth, Cillian Murphy as well a fantastic debut performance from Eloise Laurence in a film thats looks like it’ll deliver on the dramatics with hints of something very dark lurking under the serene face British suburbia.To celebrate the release of Broken we have a feature called From Stage To Screen (And Back Again) which sees some great directors who have started their careers on the stage went to direct and went back to the stage once again.

Rufus Norris

Rufus Norris, whose film debut Broken hits cinemas on the 8th March, trained as an actor before turning his attentions to directing. Winning the Evening Standard award for Most Promising Newcomer in 2001 led to future success in productions such as Festen and Death and the King’s Horseman, which played in the Olivier theatre. The soundtrack of Broken is composed by Electric Wave Bureau, which features Blur front-man Damon Albarn, who collaborated with Norris on his production of Doctor Dee in 2011.

Orson Welles

Before the illustrious film career began, Orson Welles directed a number of high-profile productions; these included an innovative take on Shakespeare’s Macbeth (1936) - which became known as Voodoo Macbeth due to setting the play in Haiti (the Three Sisters became the Three Voodoo Witch Doctors.) He went on to co-found the Mercury Theatre, regularly casting actor Joseph Cotton in productions – Welles went on to cast Cotton in his film debut, Citizen Kane (1941,) deemed to be the greatest film ever made.

Laurence Olivier

Arguably one of the most famous actors of all time, Laurence Olivier was the first artistic director of the National Theatre (the main stage is now named in his honour,) and went on to the Old Vic in 1963 where he oversaw a production of Hamlet. He directed nine productions in total, appearing in most of them, and making names out of John Gielgud, Maggie Smith, Derek Jacobi and Anthony Hopkins to name a few. Previous to this, Olivierhad carved himself out as the leading purveyor of Shakespeare in film. Star and director of Hamlet (1944), Othello (1948) and Richard III (1955,) Olivier was a screen legend. In September 2007, the National Theatre marked the centenary of his birth.

Bob Fosse

Bob Fosse was a director of musical theatre, who moved to New York with the aspirations of becoming the next Fred Astaire. Choreographing several productions, including How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1961,) Fosse began directing theatre with notable productions including Sweet Charity (1966) – a film version of which he directed three years later - and Chicago (1975.) Fosse won an Oscar for directing Cabaret in 1972, famously beating Francis Ford Coppola’s work on The Godfather in the process.

Mike Nichols German-born American director Mike Nichols found his way to directing stage through his comedy duo routines with director and actress Elaine May (Nichols and May,) overseeing – and winning numerous Tony awards for – Broadway productions of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple (1965) and Plaza Suite (1968.) 1966 saw his film directorial debut in the form of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and in 1968, he won an Oscar for directing The Graduate. He has remained a film and theatre director ever since, winning another Tony in 2012 for his production of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman.

Julie Taymor

American film and theatre director Julie Taymor is most renowned for becoming the first woman to win a Best Director Tony award for her production of stage musical The Lion King (1997.) She had formally proved her talent by directing Shakespeare plays, including The Tempest and The Taming of the Shrew in 1984. She has also received acclaim for her directing career, her debut of which was Titus in 1999 (she produced a stage version in 1994,) and includes Frida (2002,) Across the Universe (2007,) a love story set to the music of The Beatles, and a screen-version of The Tempest in 2010. Her last stage production was a broadway musical version of Spider-Man in 2007, which broke records – but caused controversy when she departed the production over creative differences.

Mike Leigh

British filmmaker Mike Leigh studied theatre at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art kick-starting his career in the mid-60s. He worked as assistant director at the Royal Shakespeare Company alongside director’s Peter Hall and Trevor Nunn. After directing some small-scale improvised plays, heturned his attention to playwriting for television – his most famous of which, Abigail’s Party, has been devised on-stage several times. He soon moved to theatrical ‘kitchen-sink’ filmmaking, with High Hopes (1988) and Life Is Sweet (1990.) He has directed three plays since his film career began, and regularly receives praise for every new film – the last of which was 2010’s Another Year.

Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes began theatre directing during his years at Cambridge - and by 24 had directed a version of Chekhov’s The Cherry Tree starring Judi Dench. 1990 saw Mendes appointed artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse (situated in Covent Garden,) which is now deemed a notable theatre venue. Countless talent has appeared in acclaimed productions ever since. In 1994, he staged a production of Oliver! and made his film directorial debut with 1999’s Oscar-winning American Beauty. Road to Perdition (2002) followed, and most recently, Mendes was the man responsible for directing what has become one of the most popular Bond films ever, Skyfall (2012.) In 2003, he established film, television and theatre production company Neal Street Productions, most recently responsible for the funding of BBC1’s Call the Midwife.

Danny Boyle

Upon leaving school, Danny Boyle joined the Joint Stock Theatre Company in London, before moving to the Royal Court in 1982. Five productions at the Royal Shakespeare Company later, and Boyle turned his attentions to filmmaking; 1995 saw his debut Shallow Grave, and countless other hits have followed: Trainspotting (1996,) 28 Days Later... (2002,) the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire (2008) and 127 Hours (2010.) He returned to theatre in 2011, directing a version of Frankenstein for the National Theatre which was broadcast to cinemas live. He received unanimous praise recently for his artisitic directing duties on the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. His new film Trance is set for release this month.

Joe Wright

Joe Wright began his career working at his parents’ puppet theatre, and attended the Anna Scher Theatre School. He made the move to directing television and film after receiving a scholarship to make an award-winning short film for the BBC, sparking off a film career that has included Atonement (2007,) Hanna (2010) and most recently Anna Karenina (2012.) This year has seen him make his West End stage directorial debut, comedy Trelawny of the Wells at the Donmar Warehouse; it opened to positive reviews.

Broken will be released in UK Cinemas from Friday (8th March)

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