Anthony Hopkins and Ian McKellan are to star in a feature-length adaption of Ronald Harwood’s play The Dresser.
The drama is being produced for BBC Two and US cable network Starz by Playground Entertainment and Sonia Friedman Productions and will shoot in and around London for transmission later this year.
The Dresser tells the story of one fateful night in a small regional theatre during World War Two as a troupe of touring actors stage a production of Shakespeare’s King Lear.
Bombs are falling, the sirens are wailing, the curtain is up in an hour but the actor/manager Sir who is playing Lear is nowhere to be seen.
His dresser Norman must scramble to keep the production alive but will Sir turn up in time and if he does will he be able to perform that night?
The drama is being directed by Richard Eyre who directed an award-winning production of the play with Ian Holm for the National Theatre in 1997.
Joining Hopkins McKellan are Emily Watson and Sarah Lancashire.
Colin Callender, Executive Producer for Playground Entertainment, says: “There is a long, rich tradition of British television honouring the text of the great British play and presenting audiences with virtuoso renditions of them on the screen as the playwright originally wrote them.”
Ben Stephenson, Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning, adds: “To bring such incredible and world-class talent together for The Dresser is testament to Ronald’s wonderful play, which is as current and witty today as it was in 1980.
“With Anthony and Ian at the helm of the drama and such an array of supporting stars – the audience is in for a once-in-a-lifetime treat.”