September 27, 2006
ACADEMY Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman will direct a play for Sydney Theatre Company next year.
Hoffman, who won an Oscar this year for his role as the effeminate writer Truman Capote, will direct a new drama by Andrew Upton called Riflemind.
And Upton’s wife, Cate Blanchett, will direct her first evening-length drama for STC next year, following her anticipated directorial debut in November with a short play, Blackbird by David Harrower.
Riflemind is about rock ‘n’ roll excess and the pressure placed on a former world supergroup when the members are asked to make a comeback.
Hugo Weaving, who will play the band’s frontman, said he had not seen any of Hoffman’s work as a director, but he admired his screen performances.
"He has always been fearless," Weaving said yesterday. "He is hugely bright: he burrows his way through to the psychological truth of a character and lets it all hang out, warts and all."
Hoffman is co-artistic director of Labyrinth Theatre Company in New York. Upton, Blanchett and Weaving had dinner with him when STC took its production of Hedda Gabler to the US earlier this year.
"I’ve known Andrew for eight years and have always felt that he was an extraordinarily bright and talented man," Hoffman said.
"His play Riflemind is an original and I hope this opportunity to collaborate with Andrew and Sydney Theatre Company will be the beginning of many more to come."
In what artistic director Robyn Nevin referred to as the company’s increasingly international outlook, STC has invited director Annabel Arden, a co-founder of Britain’s Complicite theatre company, to direct a new work called The Art of War.