NEW YORK (AP) — Ralph Fiennes is hoping the world will join him in hell — in George Bernard’s play “Man and Superman.”
The Oscar-nominated actor will make his debut foray into event cinema on Thursday when National Theatre Live broadcasts the reinvention of the 1903 play from London’s Lyttelton Theatre to movie theaters in over 1,000 venues across the world.
“We all feel that there’s a sort of spring and a modernity to the piece,” Fiennes said by phone. “Some people think it’s a play of its time. Other people don’t. I like our modern approach to it.”
The four-act play, a zesty battle of the sexes packed with quips and philosophical zingers, clocks in at just under 4 hours and stars Fiennes as Jack Tanner, a rich bachelor and radical thinker.
Director Simon Godwin’s production, using modern costumes and a car onstage, includes an edited version of the notorious Third Act, a lengthy dream sequence called “Don Juan in Hell” in which Tanner turns into his libidinous ancestor and conducts philosophical debates in the underworld.
Some productions of the play omit the act but Fiennes and the creative team insisted it be done. “We think without Act Three, the play is a mischievous, provocative social comedy,” he said. “It’s been done without Act Three, but it’s a big loss, I think.”
The broadcast will come a few days after the revival’s run ends on Sunday. Fiennes, who has never been in a live broadcast before or seen one, pledges to ignore the cameras but he’s glad they will be there.
“I’m happy there will be a record of it,” said the star of such films as “Schindler’s List,” ”Quiz Show” and “The English Patient,” adding: “What I really hope is that people who come to see this feel the joy in the audience when they watch it on the screen.”
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