Hollywood colonizes Broadway

Posted by · 4:01 am · June 14th, 2010

I wouldn’t normally make much mention of the Tony Awards, which took place in New York last night — this being a film site, after all, and me being an entire ocean away from the U.S. theater scene. (That said, I saw yesterday’s big winner “Red” on its initial run in London, and was suitably impressed. The play, incidentally, is by Oscar-nominated screenwriter John Logan, of “Gladiator” and “The Aviator” fame.)

Still, when the list of winners contains more Hollywood star power than in an average edition of the Golden Globes, it’s hard not to pay attention. Denzel Washington, Scarlett Johansson, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Viola Davis all took home trophies last night, and while I have only second-hand critical word to go on, I am led to believe that this was merit-based starfucking.

The victory must taste particularly sweet for Johansson, who took Best Supporting Actress in a Play for her well-regarded turn in a revival of Arthur Miller’s “A View From the Bridge.” With the actress’s screen work of late having made her something of a critics’ punch-bag, this serves as a welcome reminder of her neglected talent — here’s hoping this ushers in some suitable cinematic vehicles for it.

Zeta-Jones, meanwhile, rounded off an already good weekend by winning Best Actress in a Musical for “A Little Night Music.” Singing appears to agree with her, awards-wise. Coming on the heels of her CBE in the Queen’s Birthday honors, this gives us a second reason to think about her in a single weekend, just as she appeared headed for the “Whatever happened to…” ranks. Good for her. Now do something I can actually see.

Washington and Davis (soon to be seen doing stock best-friend duty to Julia Roberts in “Eat, Pray, Love”) took dramatic lead honors for yet another revival, this time of August Wilson’s race-relations drama “Fences.” As Nathaniel Rogers points out, it’s rather surprising that this hefty 1987 play has never been translated to the screen — perhaps the success of this star pairing could give prestige-hungry producers ideas.

Kinda-sorta adding to the movie-star count is someone who will be one soon enough: rising Brit thesp Eddie Redmayne, who has now taken both Olivier and Tony gongs for his supporting work opposite Alfred Molina in “Red,” and looks set for the lead in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of “The War Horse.”

More details, and perspective from people who actually know what they’re talking about, here.

→ 9 Comments Tags: , , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

9 responses so far

  • 1 6-14-2010 at 6:43 am

    JJ said...

    -Happy for ScarJo.
    -This is Viola’s second Tony, but boy was she emotional!
    -Denzel looked completely surprised to have won.
    -And CZJ, her performance was very interesting. Good, but, I can’t think of another word than interesting. Her speech? Kind of drunk, haha. Don’t know what to think about that win, but good for her. She gets sweaty, doesn’t she?

  • 2 6-14-2010 at 7:08 am

    Alex said...

    Random and irrelevant point – when will Geoffrey Rush be releasing a spoken word album? He needs to EGOT ASAP?

  • 3 6-14-2010 at 1:02 pm

    Bia said...

    Scarlett was making one good movie after another for awhile and then someone told her to be more commercial. The only problem is that she can’t open a movie, it’s unclear why it never happens for her.

  • 4 6-14-2010 at 3:42 pm

    /3rtfu11 said...

    “perhaps the success of this star pairing could give prestige-hungry producers ideas”

    The revival was produced by Scott Rudin

  • 5 6-14-2010 at 3:56 pm

    j said...

    Interestingly, Denzel was the only one in his category who didn’t get a nom at the Drama Desk Awards.

    Yeah I’m happiest for ScarJo since the other 3 stars already have major awards (Oscar or Tony). And I personally preferred her in 2003 to the actual nominees.

  • 6 6-14-2010 at 8:22 pm

    Adam Smith said...

    I don’t remember the source, but I heard a rumor that Scott Rudin originally was in talks with Denzel Washington about playing the role in a film adaptation of Fences, but Denzel wanted to do it on stage first. So it’s entirely possible that the production will be translated to the screen (much like they’re doing with The Seagull).

  • 7 6-15-2010 at 8:55 am

    Nick Davis said...

    August Wilson refused any Hollywood adaptation of any of his plays during his lifetime that wasn’t spearheaded by a black director, and the studios weren’t complying. Norman Jewison, I think, really wanted to do Fences, but Wilson didn’t budge. I don’t know if any African-American directors have tried since; I wonder if Denzel will try to direct Fences as well as reprising his perf as Troy, if this project crosses to Hollywood.

  • 8 6-15-2010 at 9:11 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    This is all news to me. Thanks, guys.

  • 9 6-15-2010 at 7:41 pm

    Frank Lee said...

    I had read the same thing: the Broadway production was a warm-up for the filming of “Fences.” Is the “Seagull” film that Adam Smith mentioned going to be released theatrically?