A recent article from The Guardian has claimed Joe Wright will soon be embarking on his next frontier : directing productions for the stage. The famed director now plans to direct an epic play following the rise and fall of the Congolese rebel leader Patrice Lumumba.
Joe Wright is best known for his work on the World War II epic drama Atonement, bringing Jane Austen’s masterpiece to life (yet again) with Pride & Prejudice, teaching Jamie Foxx how to bring out his inner hobo in The Soloist, and showcasing Saoirse Ronan’s seemingly unlimited potential in Hannah. Oh, and did we mention his adaptation of Anna Karenina due out November 12? Quite the impressive resume for a director in the span of eight years.
It seems as if Joe Wright means to quit while he’s ahead. In an interview with The Guardian, Wright admitted “I’ve been wanting for some time to work in theatre, and so I decided to make a concerted effort this year as I’ve made five films in eight years and I just felt I wanted a different kind of rhythm.”
Wright went on to describe how David Lan artistic director of the Donmar (a prestigious theatre in London), approached him with a mouth watering script in saying “David kind of wafted this play under my nose. And I read it, thought ‘This is incredible’, and then it was, ‘No, no, we can’t do this: it’s far too expensive and ambitious,’ and he began sending me wonderful two-handers. Every time I read them, I thought: ‘Actually, what I really want to do is A Season in the Congo.'”
“It’s terrifying, to be honest with you, and it is absolute rubbish to say that because I grew up in a puppet theatre I have any idea how to direct actors in a theatre. I’m terrified. And that is another very good reason to do it.”
If Joe Wright exhibits even a tenth of the skill he’s exhibited in the realm of film, it’s a sure bet that his work on the stage will not be much different. While it will certainly not be as lucrative as the movie business, it’s sure to offer him the new experiences he’s craving. Who knows, maybe he’ll eventually make a pretty good movie movie about it.