As previously tipped (See The Goss, 7 Aug 2007), Award winner Christian Slater (pictured) will return to the West End this autumn. The Hollywood actor will play a vicious Hollywood producer in the world premiere stage adaptation of the cult 1994 film Swimming with Sharks, which opens for a limited 15-week season at the Vaudeville Theatre on 16 October 2007 (previews from 5 October).

Buddy Ackerman is one of the most powerful men in the cut-throat world of Hollywood, the mastermind of a top studio’s high-grossing, ultra violent horror slate – and he’s the boss from hell. Guy, his eager and idealistic new assistant and would-be screenwriter, soon finds himself serving as Buddy’s personal slave. Hoping to be given his big break, Guy endures Buddy’s relentless abuse until he reaches breaking point, leading to a torturous showdown between mentor, protégé and lover, with devastating consequences.

George Huang’s 1994 film starred Kevin Spacey as Buddy, the part now being created on stage by Christian Slater. Commenting on his new role, Slater said: “The moment I read this script, I knew I had to do it. This is a fantastic, edge of the seat, gripping story told with a wickedly funny wit. It’s a great role, a great play and I can’t wait to get back on to the London stage – it’s like my second home.”

Slater made his West End debut playing rebel Randle P McMurphy in September 2004 in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, which won Best Play Revival as well as Slater’s Best Actor prize in the 2005 Awards. Slater reprised his performance in a brief West End return season last year (See News, 15 Feb 2006). His other stage credits include Side Man, David Copperfield, Merlin, Macbeth, The Music Man and The Glass Menagerie on Broadway. He was previously tipped to return to London in a revival of Tennessee WilliamsSweet Bird of Youth (See The Goss, 16 Dec 2004).

The actor is best known for his myriad screen credits including Heathers, True Romance, Interview with a Vampire, Broken Arrow, Very Bad Things, The Contender, The Names of the Rose, Young Guns and Bobby.

Further details for the eight-strong company, which will be cast locally, has not yet been announced. Swimming with Sharks is adapted by UK playwright and screenwriter Michael Lesslie. The premiere production is directed by Wilson Milam – whose credits include The Lieutenant of Inishmore and the 1997 West End revival of David Rabe’s Hollywood-set play Hurlyburly - and designed by Dick Bird. It’s presented by Nick Frankfort and Tobias Round (formerly executive producer and general manager, respectively, of the Donmar Warehouse) for CMP, which commissioned the play, and Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer for Nimax Theatres Ltd.

Currently at the Vaudeville, dance extravaganza Stomp closes on 23 September 2007, after a run of five years (See News, 19 Jul 2007).

- by Terri Paddock

NOTE: Public booking for Swimming with Sharks opens on 13 August 2007.