Josh Hartnett is the latest Hollywood actor to tread the boards in the West End as he teams up with British actor Adam Godley for a new stage adaptation of the hit film Rain Man, which opens at the Apollo on 9 September (previews from 28 August).
Rain Man tells the story of Charlie Babbitt (Hartnett), a self-centred Los Angeles-based car dealer and hustler, and his relationship with his autistic elder brother Raymond (Godley), who has been hidden away in an institution for most of his life. Raymond is dysfunctional in many senses, but, as Charlie discovers, is touched with a kind of stellar genius which Charlie harnesses to save his business. Together, the brothers embark on a journey which shows Raymond a world beyond the hospital gates and Charlie the meaning of unconditional love.
The Oscar-winning 1988 film, written by Barry Morrow, starred Tom Cruise (Charlie) and Dustin Hoffman (Raymond), who won the 1989 Best Actor Academy Award. This new stage production is adapted by Dan Gordon and director David Grindley, who have reimagined the story for the stage, setting it in the present day.
Hartnett’s many films include Pearl Harbor, Black Hawk Down, The Faculty, 30 Days Of Night, Virgin Suicides, The Black Dahlia and Lucky Number Slevin. Commenting on taking to the stage in Rain Man, Hartnett said: “It has always been my intent to work on the London stage. While I’ve had many opportunities, it was only when I read the complex and charismatic character of Charlie Babbitt that I knew the time was right. I feel very fortunate to make my London bow with such an esteemed producer and director and I’m also looking forward to working with Adam Godley, who is such an extraordinary talent. Can’t wait to live and work in London, a city I adore!”
Godley was nominated for a 1999 Laurence Olivier Award for his supporting performance in Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle and Dick at the National Theatre and again in 2002 for his role in Mouth To Mouth at the Royal Court. His other stage work includes Paul, The Pillowman and Two Thousand Years at the National, and Private Lives at the Albery and on Broadway in 2002. He also has film credits including Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Elizabeth: The Golden Age and X-Files: I Want To Believe.
Director Grindley’s many West End productions include the hugely successful production of Journey’s End, which then transferred to Broadway, The Philanthropist at the Donmar Warehouse, Honour, starring Diana Rigg at the Wyndham’s, and Neil LaBute’s Some Girl(s).
Writer Gordon has written the screenplays for The Hurricane, Wyatt Earp, Murder In The First and Passenger 57.
Currently at the Apollo is Peter Schaufuss’s dance biopic Divas, which finishes its limited season on 5 July.
Rain Man is booking at the Apollo until 20 December.