Irons to play Harold Macmillan in new play

Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:48am EST
 
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LONDON (Reuters) - Oscar-winning British actor Jeremy Irons will play former Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in a new play opening at London's National Theatre in March, the theatre announced on Wednesday.

"Never So Good," taken from Macmillan's famous phrase "most of our people have never had it so good," was written by Howard Brenton and will be directed by Howard Davies.

"The chance to work with them both at the National Theatre, portraying one of our greatest politicians, Harold Macmillan, makes me feel I might never have had it so good," said Irons, who makes his National Theatre debut.

Macmillan was conservative prime minister from 1957 to 1963, and was well known for abruptly dismissing several Cabinet members in 1962 in what became known as the "night of the long knives."

He was also in power during the Profumo sex-and-spies scandal involving the politician John Profumo.

Also at the National in 2008 will be French actress Juliette Binoche, another Academy Award winner, in a production featuring designs by Anish Kapoor, and Ralph Fiennes in the title role of Sophocles' "Oedipus."

David Hare will direct Vanessa Redgrave in "The Year Of Magical Thinking," based on the memoir of widow Joan Didion and already performed on Broadway.

"2008 will be the most ambitious year since I became the National's director," said Hytner, who took up the post in 2003.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White)

 
<p>Jeremy Irons speaks after winning the award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a television movie or miniseries for "Elizabeth I" at the 13th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles January 28, 2007. Irons will play former Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in a new play opening at London's National Theatre in March, the theatre announced on Wednesday. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>