The History Boys from stage to screen
by Annika Pham
Three new European films are hitting UK screens today, the biggest profile one being the UK film The History Boys by Nicholas Hytner, released nationwide by 20th Century Fox.
The film – which reunites the successful creative duo of The Madness of King George, filmmaker Hytner and scriptwriter Alan Bennett – is based on their stage production, which was a huge success in London in 2004 and just finished its Broadway run on October 1.
The cast includes a number of young stage actors, including Richard Griffiths, Clive Merrison, Frances de la Tour, and Stephen Campbell Moore, as well as new characters played by Penelope Wilton (Calendar Girls) and Adrian Scarborough (Vera Drake [+see also:
film profile]). Set in 1980 in the early days of the Margaret Thatcher regime, The History Boys charts the fortunes of eight students at a North England public school as they attempt to get into university under the guidance of two vastly different teachers.
The film had its Royal premiere on October 2 and was attended by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. It was produced by Kevin Loader (Captain Corelli's Mandolin), Damian Jones (Millions) and Hytner for DNA Films and BBC Films. Fox Searchlight will launch it in the US on Nov 22.
Also opening today is the French film Shut Up! (Tais-toi) by Francis Veber, released on two screens by Cinephile. The company expects it to work mostly on word-of-mouth because of its two star actors, Gerard Depardieu and Jean Reno. “We expect it to have a long life on DVD where another of our releases, Euro Pudding, still sells 100 copies a week even two years after its initial release”, said Cinephile’s spokesperson Richard Mowe.
The third European opener is the award-winning Finnish film Frozen Land by Aku Louhimies, platformed at London’s ICA cinema. The film will screen at the Institute of Contemporary Arts until November 2.
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