Nicole, Kathleen, Jerry... now Daryl is next in line for nudity

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The Independent Culture

Worries in West End theatre circles that this autumn might fail to see a Hollywood star taking her clothes off on stage have been assuaged.

Worries in West End theatre circles that this autumn might fail to see a Hollywood star taking her clothes off on stage have been assuaged.

In the nick of time, the film star Daryl Hannah has agreed to bring the role made famous by Marilyn Monroe in the classic comedy The Seven Year Itch to the London stage.

The 39-year-old star - whose most famous film role was as a mermaid alongside Tom Hanks's in director Ron Howard's Splash (1984) - will star in a new West End version of the play on which the 1955 film was based.

Like fellow US stars Nicole Kidman, Kathleen Turner and Jerry Hall before her, Ms Hannah is likely to appear naked in the finished production. But producer Laurence Myers says she will not be repeating the iconic movie scene in which the white dress worn by Monroe's temptress billows up seductively as she stands over a grate.

The play, based on the Tony award-winning Broadway original by George Axelrod, tells of a middle-aged married man who fantasises about the "girl next door" when he finds himself alone in the city and his family away for the summer. It will mark the stage debut of the Oscar-nominated British director Michael Radford, whose movies include White Mischief, 1984 and the Bafta-winning Il Postino ( The Postman).

Mr Myers, whose most recent theatrical success was Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell, said of Ms Hannah's casting: "I haven't brought her over here to be naked on stage. She's a wonderful comedy actress, but if the play requires her to appear naked, she won't have a problem with that... If you want to sell tickets, of course having stars in a play is a good way to do it, but we had to be convinced that Daryl was right for the part."

The famous Monroe flying-skirt scene would not be included in a play, as it was not in the original, he said, adding: "Daryl is not a Monroe impersonator."

The Seven Year Itch starts preview performances at the Queen's Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, on 2 October. Opening night is 9 October.

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