Hannah Keeps Clothes On in Seven Year ItchDate: 7 September 2000
Contrary to earlier speculation, film star Daryl Hannah will not be disrobing when she makes her stage debut next month in the new West End production of the classic comedy, The Seven Year Itch, which opens at the Queen's Theatre on 9 October 2000 (previews from 2 October).
In a press conference held yesterday in London, Hannah dismissed the suggestion as the antics of “naughty producers who want to sell tickets”. In fact, she said, she would only be prompted to take her clothes off – as Nicole Kidman, Kathleen Turner and Jerry Hall (who continues to perform just a few doors down from the Queen's on Shaftesbury Avenue) have done already – if “I have a bout of amnesia or feel like mooning someone in the audience.”
Hannah's primary reason for wanting to take on the role, she said, was to use it as an opportunity to face her life-long phobia of performing in front of a live audience. “I have an enormous and overwhelming stage fright,” she said. “It has debilitated my life. So either I will survive by doing this or I won't.” She did not rule out the possibility that her fright might lead her to faint during a performance or even withdraw from the ten-week run.
Hannah will play the part simply known as ‘The Girl', made famous by Marilyn Monroe in Billy Wilder's 1955 film version of The Seven Year Itch. Based on the original Tony Award-winning Broadway play written by George Axelrod, the comedy is about a middle-aged, married man whose wife and child leave him alone in his New York flat while they take their summer holidays out of the city. Everything's fine and normal until the sexy Girl moves in upstairs and the man starts to fantasise.
Hannah, now 39, is best known for her roles in films such as 1984's Splash, and Roxanne and Wall Street in 1987. Although she has continued to work, the actress's more recent screen projects - such as last year's My Favourite Martian and Speedway Junky - have met with less success. At the London press conference, she said that she intended for the stage part to be one of her last acting roles. From 2002, she plans to retire from acting and concentrate on directing films.
Hannah was persuaded to make her stage debut by British film-maker Michael Radford, who directed her in her latest film, Dancing at the Blue Iguana, in which she plays a stripper. Radford will also be making his stage debut as the play's director. The Bafta Award-winning director's films include 1984, White Mischief and Il Postino.