Preview Guide

Esplanade screens National Theatre films starring Gillian Anderson, James Franco and Chris O'Dowd

By Zaki JufriEvents - 13 April 2015 11:32 AM

Esplanade screens National Theatre films starring Gillian Anderson, James Franco and Chris O'Dowd

The Esplanade will be screening four films of theatre productions staged at London's National Theatre: 'Of Mice and Men' starring James Franco and Chris O'Dowd, 'A Streetcar Named Desire' with Gillian Anderson, a Sam Mendes-helmed 'King Lear' with Simon Russell Beale in the titular role as well as The National Theatre’s original stage production of 'War Horse', captured live in HD from London’s West End to the big screen. 

These four films will be screened under the umbrella of National Theatre Live, a project that aims to capture live performances from the stage and screen them in cinemas across the globe.

The initiative began in June 2009 and since then, 1.5 million people in 500 venues worldwide have watched these broadcasts. Each is filmed in front of a live theatre audience.

This is not the first time that the Esplanade is screening National Theatre films. In 2014, it screened 'Coriolanus' starring Tom Hiddleston, 'The Audience' with Helen Mirren reprising her Oscar-winning turn as Queen Elizabeth II, and two versions of 'Frankenstein' featuring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller.

Former X-Files actress Gillian Anderson will play Blanche DuBois in classic tragedy 'A Streetcar Named Desire' (1 May). Anderson appears alongside US actor Ben Foster in Tennessee Williams' American classic full of violent sexuality and raw emotions.

In an interview with the Telegraph, Foster described the production as "a thrill. It's very scary in the best way. There's nowhere to hide."

'A Streetcar Named Desire' trailer

The Telegraph wrote that "Anderson gave the performance of her career". Her powerful performance as the fragile Southern belle won her the best actress awards at the 60th London Evening Standard theatre awards in 2014.

'Skyfall' director Sam Mendes brings Shakespeare's 'King Lear' (2 May) into the modern world with Simon Russell Beale playing the angry monarch holding court in a World War II-era England led by a military regime. The production opened in January 2014.

'War Horse' trailer

Based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo, 'War Horse' (30 Apr - 1 May), which opened in London in 2007, tells the story of a young boy called Albert and his beloved horse, Joey, who is requisitioned to fight for the British in World War I. Directed by Tom Morris and Marianne Elliott, the show features acclaimed puppetry work by South Africa's Handspring Puppet Company, which brings breathing and galloping horses to life on stage.

'Of Mice and Men' trailer

James Franco and Chris O'Dowd take on a revival of John Steinbeck's 1937 classic tale of friendship and failed dreams 'Of Mice and Men' (2 May). National Theatre Live's first Broadway offering, Franco plays the role of George in the stage version of Steinbeck's classic novella, while O'Dowd earned a Tony Award nomination as Lenny. The production also featured the Broadway debut of 'Gossip Girl' actress Leighton Meester.