Jude Law leads van Hove’s Obsession

Published May 10, 2016

Jude Law will star in the world premiere of Olivier Award-winning director Ivo van Hove’s Obsession at the Barbican Theatre next year as part of a hugely exciting Toneelgroep Amsterdam residency at the venue.

The stage adaptation of Luchino Visconti’s film will play as part of a quartet of productions all directed by van Hove, one of the world’s greatest living theatremakers who recently collected a total of nine Tony Award nominations for his triumphant Mark Strong-led A View From The Bridge and his critically acclaimed take on The Crucible.

Commenting on his forthcoming role, Law said: “I’d heard great things about Ivo van Hove and when I saw A View From The Bridge at the Young Vic and then Antigone at the Barbican I knew he was someone I really wanted to have the opportunity to work with. And now I can’t wait to return to the Barbican, where I performed 22 years ago with the RSC, to take on the role of Gino, immortalised in the 1943 classic, Obsession by Luchino Visconti, whose films I adore.”

The Talented Mr Ripley star will follow his most recent stage appearances in Henry V and Hamlet in the West End and the Donmar Warehouse’s Anna Christie to play the magnetic lead first found in the classic novel The Postman Always Rings Twice from 19 April to 20 May.

Performed in English, Obsession tells the story of Law’s Gino, a down-at-heel drifter with an irresistible, powerful presence. When he encounters Giuseppe and his much younger, trapped wife Giovanna at their roadside restaurant and petrol station, Gino embarks on a passionate affair that leads him and Giovanna on a destructive, murderous path.

Van Hove echoed Law’s excitement about the project, saying: “It’s very exciting to bring British actors and specifically Jude Law together with actors from our Toneelgroep Amsterdam ensemble for the first time. Obsession is a raw and timeless tale about idealised love and its fleeting nature. Major themes that resonate for all time which I am looking forward to staging at the Barbican, a venue I consider to be our London home.”

Obsession will be preceded by the return of van Hove’s much revered six-hour epic, Roman Tragedies (17 to 19 March), in which the audience is encouraged to live tweet and move freely around the theatre, and followed later in 2017 by After The Rehearsal/Persona (27 to 30 September), a double bill based on the films by legendary director and writer Ingmar Bergman.

The news was announced today alongside a selection of other highlights coming at the Barbican, including a host of new shows by the RSC as part of the continued collaboration between the two companies.

From 2 September to 1 October, Polly Findlay will direct Ben Jonson’s savage satire The Alchemist, which will play in rep with the transfer of Maria Aberg’s Doctor Faustus starring Sandy Grierson and Oliver Ryan who alternate the role of the doctor and the demon.

Gillian Bevan will then star as Cymbeline in Melly Still’s modern day-set production of Shakespeare’s great coming-of-age romance from 31 October to 22 December. The production will play in rep with the much anticipated performance of Antony Sher in one of the stage’s greatest roles, King Lear, under the director of RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran from 10 November to 23 December.

Other highlights of the 2016/2017 season announcement include the premiere of three new dance productions by Michael Clark Company, Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company and the Barbican’s first ever collaboration with The Royal Ballet, as acclaimed choreographer Javier de Frutos takes on Les Enfants Terribles.

“I’d heard great things about Ivo van Hove and when I saw A View From The Bridge at the Young Vic and then Antigone at the Barbican I knew he was someone I really wanted to have the opportunity to work with."