The Royal Court in London, one of the most important new-writing theatres in the world, has over the years been crucial in making the names of writers including Arnold Wesker, Christopher Hampton, Caryl Churchill, Hanif Kureshi, Sarah Kane, Martin McDonagh and Simon Stephens. Hell, it was even where “The Rocky Picture Horror Show” started out. And in the last few years, it’s been on as impressive a run as any in its history, premiering the acclaimed likes of Jez Butterworth‘s “Jerusalem,” Lucy Prebble‘s “Enron,” Polly Stenham‘s “That Face,” Bruce Norris‘ Pulitzer Prize-winning “Clybourne Park” and Nick Payne‘s “Constellations,” all of which went on to ecstatic reviews, and often transfers to the West End or the U.S.
So far, though, none of this recent batch have made it to the screen, though several are in development: George Clooney picked up the rights to “Enron,” while Stenham’s second play “Tusk Tusk” is in development at Film4, with “Doctor Who” director Adam Smith attached. But it looks like we’re finally getting one moving forward, with a director behind one of the most acclaimed and popular British films of the last few years on board, as Screen Daily report that Lone Scherfig, director of “An Education,” will direct the film version of Laura Wade‘s “Posh.”
The play, which originally premiered at the Court in 2010, was based around a version of the Bullingdon Club, an Oxford University institution (not unlike a fraternity) which included current Prime Minister David Cameron and current Mayor of London Boris Johnson among its members, and which involves privileged idiots getting together, drinking themselves into oblivion and trashing restaurants. Wade’s play focuses on the members of the Riot Club, whose meeting in a country pub ends in tragedy.
The play, originally directed by Lyndsey Turner, is terrific, a smart and funny look at class and the current political establishment, and helped to give early roles to several rising actors, including Kit Harington (“Game Of Thrones“), Joshua McGuire (“The Hour‘), Henry Lloyd-Hughes (“Anna Karenina“) and Tom Mison (“Salmon Fishing In The Yemen“). With casting coming together at the moment, we’d be surprised if more than one member of the original cast didn’t end up reprising their roles, but expect some bigger names to end up in there too.
Blueprint Pictures, the BFI and Film4 are backing the project, which Hanway will be selling at the European Film Market in Berlin later in the week. Scherfig’s not the most obvious choice for the film on the surface, but her outsider’s perspective brought a nuanced and smart take on class to “An Education,” so hopefully the Danish director will end up making something closer to that than her disappointing follow-up “One Day.” Filming starts in May, so we should see this in cinemas some time in 2014.