Grandage Directs Law's Hamlet, Delays NT DebutDate: 14 October 2008
Kenneth Branagh - who is currently starring in Ivanov, the first production in the Donmar West End season – has pulled out of directing Jude Law (pictured) in Hamlet, the final production in the year-long residency at Wyndham’s Theatre (See News, 10 Sep 2007). The Shakespeare tragedy runs from 3 June (previews from 29 May) to 22 August 2009.
Donmar artistic director Michael Grandage will take over from Branagh, meaning that he’s now directing all four high-profile productions in the season - with Twelfth Night, starring Derek Jacobi, and Madame de Sade, starring Judi Dench, falling between the runs of Ivanov and Hamlet.
Branagh, who continues in his role as Donmar West End artistic associate, has had to withdraw because of commitments to the forthcoming feature film Thor, a project he’s recently undertaken. Theatregoers who’ve already booked for Hamlet can apply to their point of sale for a full refund before 29 May 2009 should they no longer wish to see the production because of the change of director.
Commenting today, Michael Grandage said: “I am thrilled and flattered to have the opportunity to direct Jude Law – one of the leading actors of his generation as he takes on one of the most important roles of his career. Kenneth Branagh will continue as artistic associate of the season and we have arrived at this arrangement very amicably whilst I still have time to proceed with a brand new production of this great play next year. From the outset, Ken has been a huge support and inspiration for the Donmar West End season – a project that we could not have realised without his input.”
Jude Law said: “I feel privileged to be part of the Donmar West End season and to be directed by the company’s artistic director Michael Grandage on Hamlet. It was Ken who brought me to this project, and with his support and guidance, as one of the greatest Hamlets of all time, and with Michael directing, I can’t imagine a better scenario for me, as an actor, to undertake the role.”
Because of his new commitments on Hamlet, Grandage has postponed making his National Theatre debut (See News, 17 Sep 2008). He was due to revive Georg Buchner’s 1835 piece about the French Revolution, Danton’s Death at the NT in 2009.
- by Terri Paddock