Further casting has been confirmed for the UK premiere production of Arthur Miller’s Resurrection Blues, directed by Robert Altman at the Old Vic, where it runs from 2 March (previews from 14 February) to 22 April 2006. Matthew Modine (pictured) will join, as previously announced (See News, 2 Dec 2005), fellow Hollywood film star Neve Campbell (of Scream fame) in the ensemble cast which will also now feature British stage veteran John Wood and Academy Award winner Maximilian Schell.

A satire of cultural commercialisation, global politics and media saturation, Resurrection Blues, which Miller was rewriting in the weeks before he died in February (See News, 11 Feb 2005), received its world premiere at Minneapolis’ Guthrie Theater in 2002. It is set in an unnamed South American country where a young rebel heralded as a messiah is gathering support from the downtrodden masses. When the government’s dictator captures the man and decides to crucify him, a New York-based TV company swoops in to vie for the broadcast rights.

Modine - who plays Skip, a New York ad exec - appeared in Chicago’s 2004 world premiere production of Miller’s last play, Finishing the Picture, which he previously tipped for a run at the Old Vic under artistic director Kevin Spacey’s regime (See The Goss, 21 Sep 2004). The actor is best known for his many films such as Memphis Belle, Birdy, Full Metal Jacket, Short Cuts and HBO’s And the Band Played On.

Austrian Schell – who plays General Felix Barriaux in Resurrection Blues - won the 1962 Best Actor Oscar for Judgment at Nuremberg. Schell starred in the 1965 production of John Osborne’s A Patriot for Me at the Royal Court and on Broadway, and is also a prolific director of stage and screen (his credits include the 1977 National Theatre production of Tales from the Vienna Woods).

John Wood – who plays the General’s cousin Henri Schultz - made his first appearance on the Old Vic stage in 1954 before spending several seasons with the RSC. His many theatre credits since have included Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (original cast), Travesties, Tartuffe, Deathtrap, Amadeus, The Invention of Love, No Man’s Land and, most recently, Henry IV at the National. Wood’s screen credits include Longitude and Love in a Cold Climate.

The cast of Resurrection Blues will also feature Peter McDonald (Aristocrats, Days of Wine and Roses, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, A Lie of the Mind) as a young disciple and American Jane Adams (An Inspector Calls, The Crucible and Enchanted April on Broadway) as a film director.

Resurrection Blues marks the UK stage debut of legendary film director Robert Altman, whose many screen classics have included MASH, Brewster McCloud, Nashville, The Long Goodbye, The Player, Short Cuts, Prêt-à-Porter, Cookie’s Fortune and Gosford Park. The production is designed by Robin Wagner, with costumes by Jenny Beavan, lighting by Rick Fisher and sound by Matt Mackenzie.

- by Caroline Ansdell & Terri Paddock