Mirren (pictured) was last seen at the National five years ago, playing opposite Alan Rickman in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. More recently, she's been seen on stage in Collected Stories (West End), Orpheus Descending (Donmar) and, on Broadway, opposite Ian McKellen in Dance of Death.
On screen, Mirren's many credits include her numerous BAFTA-winning series in Prime Suspect as well as Gosford Park, Last Orders, The Killing of Mrs Tingle, Where Angels Fear to Tread, Mosquito Coast, The Long Good Friday, Caligula, The Passion of Ayn Rand and The Madness of King George, Nicholas Hytner's film version of the Alan Bennett's 1991 stage play, in which Mirren also starred, alongside the late Nigel Hawthorne, at the National.
In Mourning Becomes Electra will be joined by Eve Best and Paul Hilton; further casting has yet to be confirmed. Howard Davies also directed the Almeida's multi award-winning 1998 production of O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh, starring Kevin Spacey in the West End and on Broadway. Like that 1939 play, Mourning is something of a marathon. A trilogy in 13 acts, it's loosely based on Aescylus' The Oresteia, the murderous story of Agamemnon and Electra which O'Neill updates to post-Civil War New England.
In other casting news from Stratford, Anton Lesser has joined the cast of Cymbeline, marking his first RSC appearance since the 1992/93 repertory season when he appeared in Richard II, The Merry Wives of Windsor and The Taming of the Shrew. Lesser's many other credits include: on stage, The Lucky Ones (Hampstead), Private Lives, The Birthday Party (National) and Art (West End); and on screen, Charlotte Gray, Perfect Strangers, Vanity Fair and The Politician's Wife.
Directed by Dominic Cooke and also starring Emma Fielding (as Imogen) and Daniel Evans (as Posthumus), Cymbeline opens at Stratford-upon-Avon's Swan Theatre on 6 August 2003 (previews from 30 July). Also in the cast are David Horovitch (Cymbeline), Ishia Bennison, Esther Ruth Elliot, Natasha Gordon, Tim Barlow, Paul Chahidi, Christopher Godwin, Wlater Hall, Daniel Hawksford, Rory Kinnear, Bill Nash, Aaron Neil, Keith Osborn, Nathan Rimell, Alistair Robins, James Staddon and Simon Trinder.
- by Terri Paddock