Hampton Adapts Mughals, Eve & Rebecca!???Date: 2 October 2009
To say that Christopher Hampton is keeping busy is putting it lightly. Having just premiered his new version of Judgment Day at the Almeida Theatre last month, he’s now got another von Horvath, an adaptation of his 1936 novel Youth Without God, premiering in Vienna – which he hopes will be picked up for a UK production (See Interviews, 10 Sep 2009).
And the literary adaptations don’t end there. Hampton is also still working on a play based on William Dalrymple’s 1999 historical best-seller White Mughals, about a colonial love affair between an English officer and a Muslim princess in 18th-century India (See The Goss, 7 Dec 2005), and a new musical base on Daphne Du Maurier’s classic 1938 novel Rebecca.
In another Viennese connection, the latter in fact premiered in the Austrian capital in 2006. Hampton has written the book and lyrics, based on Michael Kunze’s German original, for an English-language version, which received a private reading in London this afternoon (2 October 2009). The musical has a score by Sylvester Levay and is directed by Francesca Zambello.
Following the death of his first wife Rebecca, Maxim de Winter returns to country estate Manderley, accompanied by his new wife. But the second Mrs de Winter soon discovers that the ghost of the seemingly perfect Rebecca still has a strong hold on her husband and his housekeeper Mrs Danvers. Rebecca was famously filmed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1940 with Laurence Olivier playing De Winter. In 2005, Nigel Havers starred in a play adaptation by Frank McGuinness which had success on tour but failed to secure a West End transfer.
And finally, Hampton is also behind the adaptation of another piece that became a classic film, All About Eve, which he hopes to complete by the end of the year. The play has previously tipped been tipped to premiere at the Theatre Royal Haymarket (See The Goss, 24 Nov 2008), but there’s a chance that it may open in New York first. In addition to being a fan of the 1950 film, Hampton told Whatsonstage.com that he also very much liked its director Joseph Mankiewicz, with whom he briefly worked early in his career.
All About Eve, which was inspired by Mary Orr’s short story The Wisdom of Eve, won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture. In the film, Bette Davis starred as Margo Channing, a Broadway star whose career is threatened by Eve Harrington, an ambitious younger actress who insinuates herself into Channing’s inner circle after professing to be a dedicated fan. Anne Baxter played Eve in the film, which also famously gave Marilyn Monroe one of her earliest credits.
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