A female theatre dresser creates a stir and sparks a revolution in seventeenth century London theatre by playing Desdemona in Othello. But what will become of the male actor she once worked for and eventually replaced?

Director:

Richard Eyre

Writers:

Jeffrey Hatcher (play), Jeffrey Hatcher (screenplay)
4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Derek Hutchinson ... Stage Manager
Mark Letheren Mark Letheren ... Male Emilia / Dickie
Claire Danes ... Maria Hughes
Billy Crudup ... Ned Kynaston
Tom Wilkinson ... Thomas Betterton
Ben Chaplin ... George Villiers II - Duke of Buckingham
Hugh Bonneville ... Samuel Pepys
Jack Kempton Jack Kempton ... Call Boy
Alice Eve ... Miss Frayne
Fenella Woolgar ... Lady Meresvale
David Westhead ... Harry
Nick Barber ... Nick
Stephen Marcus ... Thomas Cockerell
Richard Griffiths ... Sir Charles Sedley
Zoë Tapper ... Nell Gwynn
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Storyline

Based in the 1660's of London's theaters, this film is about the rules of gender roles in theatre production, and means to change them for everyone's benefit. Ned Kynaston is the assumedly gay cross-dressing actor who has been playing female parts in plays for years, particularly Desdemona in Othello, he also has a close relationship with a member of the Royal Court, the Duke of Buckingham. One day however, the rules of only men playing women could change when aspiring actress Maria auditions as Kynaston's praised role, Desdemona, and soon enough, King Charles II decides to make the law that all female roles should be played only by women. Maria becomes a star, while Ned finds himself out of work. But after a while, Ned finds it in his nature to forgive Maria's aspiration, they may even fall in love, and Charles may proclaim women will be played by either gender. Written by Jackson Booth-Millard

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Taglines:

She was the first of her kind. He was the last of his.

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is Zoë Tapper's (Nell Gwynn) second Samuel Pepys movie. The first was The Private Life of Samuel Pepys (2003). See more »

Goofs

Ned Kynaston, age 20-something, says that he's been playing women on stage for half his life, since he was a child. But at the royal banquet, the King says that the theatres have only recently reopened after an 18-year shutdown caused by the Puritan takeover. See more »

Quotes

Maria: Mr Kynaston, I can explain everything.
Ned Kynaston: Why, are you a philosopher?
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Connections

Referenced in The Daily Show: Billy Crudup (2004) See more »

User Reviews

 
Crudup's Beauty
28 April 2005 | by marcosaguadoSee all my reviews

He is exquisite, Billy Crudup I mean, but not as a woman. Strangely enough he is more feminine as a man than he is as a woman. Look at him in "Almost Famous" perfect. Shaped like a flamenco dancer, rhythmic, sexual, casually overpowering. In "Jesus's Son" just by waking up at the beginning of the film, he, his character, gets you. Here he seems at odds with the feminine aspect of his character. His Desdemona is a performance. What perhaps I'm saying is that I admired the performance but I didn't feel it. I was aware of its quality but I couldn't taste it, as I have done with previous Billy Crudup creations. Another strange thing, Clare Danes. I think she's one of the most interesting actresses of her generation and here you enjoy her enormously when she's on but her character is now a blurry dot in my memory. What remains most vividly in my mind is Rupert Everett's sensational turn as King Charles. All said and done, try not to miss it.


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Details

Country:

UK | USA | Germany

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 October 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Stage Beauty See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$38,654, 10 October 2004

Gross USA:

$782,383

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,307,092
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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