Christian Slater is returning to the West End stage in a darkly comic modern thriller based on the cult 1994 film Swimming With Sharks, which opens at the Vaudeville theatre on 16 October (previews from 5 October).
Swimming With Sharks, adapted from the George Huang film by playwright Michael Lesslie, is an incisive look into the cut-throat world of Hollywood. Slater plays incendiary, irresistible movie producer Buddy Ackerman (played by Kevin Spacey in the film), one of Hollywood’s most powerful men and the boss from hell. Guy, his eager and idealistic new assistant and would-be screenwriter, soon finds himself serving as Buddy’s personal slave. He doggedly endures Buddy’s tantrums and relentless abuse in the hope that he will be given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to move up the Hollywood ladder. But the dream career seems a long way off when you’re working for Buddy 24/7, doing everything from getting him coffee to getting him laid.
Slater, Hollywood film star and stage actor, returns to the West End after two successful runs in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest – in 2004 at the Gielgud and in 2006 at the Garrick. On Broadway his credits include Side Man, David Copperfield, Merlin and Macbeth, and most recently Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie. Slater’s extensive back catalogue of film credits includes early cult favourites Heathers, Pump Up The Volume and Young Guns II, plus Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, True Romance, Interview With The Vampire, Broken Arrow and Very Bad Things. More recently he guest starred in US television series The West Wing and appeared in the films The Good Shepherd, Bobby and Slipstream.
Commenting on his new West End outing Slater said: “The moment I read this script I knew I had to do it. This is a fantastic, edge of the seat, gripping story told with a wickedly funny wit. It’s a great role, a great play and I can’t wait to get back on to the London stage – it’s like my second home.”
Swimming With Sharks is directed by Wilson Milam, whose credits include The Lieutenant Of Inishmore at the Barbican Pit and the Garrick (winning the Best New Comedy Laurence Olivier Award 2003) and on Broadway, Harvest at the Royal Court, Hurlyburly at the Old Vic and the Queen’s and Killer Joe at the Vaudeville. He is also directing the current production of Othello at Shakespeare’s Globe.
Currently at the Vaudeville is rhythmic entertainment show Stomp, which has occupied the theatre since 2002 and now closes on 23 September after a run of five years.
To book tickets for Stomp Tickets for Swimming With Sharks go on general sale on 13 August.