'Genius' Director Planning Film Adaptation of Play 'Photograph 51' for Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman in the stage version of 'Photograph 51'
Courtesy of Johan Perrson

Michael Grandage says he wants the adaptation of his West End hit to be his next film and hopes the actress will reprise her award-winning role as DNA scientist Rosalind Franklin.

His debut directorial switch from stage to screen, the all-star literary drama Genius, is set to have its world premiere in competition at next month's Berlin Film Festival. But Michael Grandage is already planning his follow-up.

"I want to do more, and I want to do it as early as late this year or early next," the British theater director and producer tells The Hollywood Reporter. "I want to make a film of Photograph 51 with Nicole [Kidman]."

Kidman played the lead in Grandage's hit West End version of Photograph 51, which played at London's Noel Coward Theater for three months last year and told the story of scientist Rosalind Franklin, whose groundbreaking contribution to DNA research was largely overlooked.

Kidman's performance – marking her return to the West End after 17 years – was widely praised, with the actress wining the best actress honor at the London Evening Standard Theater Awards. Interestingly, her previous London show had been 1998's The Blue Room at The Donmar Warehouse, under the direction of Sam Mendes. Grandage later took over from Mendes as artistic director at the theater, in London's Covent Garden, where he stayed for nine years before leaving in 2002 to set up his own theater company. 

Alongside Colin Firth, Jude Law, Dominic West and Guy Pierce, Kidman also stars in Genius, which chronicles the life and times of famed book editor Max Perkins and his dealings with the likes of Thomas Wolfe, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. And Grandage says Kidman is keen to join his Photograph 51 adaptation.

"We might do what we did with Genius and back [the film adaptation] ourselves and just raise the finances," the director tells THR. "Or we may go in with somebody who can do that for us next time, we'll see."

But in terms of people wanting to make or finance Photograph 51's film adaption, there didn't seem to be "too much of of a problem," he claims. "So it's really really about just getting it done. I loved every part of [making Genius], which is why I want to go and do another one quite quickly."

First, however, Grandage is directing Forest Whitaker's Broadway debut in Eugene O'Neill's play Hughie, which is due to start previews in February, during the Berlin Film Festival. There is also talk about taking Photograph 51 to the U.S., but it's a question of finding the time. 

"I don't know when we'd do that," says Grandage. "We can't do it this season, as it's booked up, so it'd be about the future. But every time we're asked the question – me or Nicole – we've just said: 'Yes, we'd like to take it to New York, we're just discussing how.' We both want to, that's the main thing. We'd love to."

 

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