Actors are 'scared' of playing Rupert Murdoch on stage because he has 'so much power'

Playwright David Williamson is struggling to find a big name for 'Rupert'

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Actors are "scared" of tackling the role of Rupert Murdoch on stage because he has "so much power", playwright David Williamson has said.

His satirical play, Rupert, is set to open in the West End in 2015. But the lead part of the media baron seems to be proving difficult to fill with the big name it needs to sell tickets.

"All commercial productions rely on getting a cast that will attract an audience and we've found that some actors are actually scared of playing Rupert on stage," Williamson told the BBC.

"The man has so much power and quite understandably, people – and that includes actors – don’t want to offend him. He owns Fox Studios, for heavens' sake!"

Rupert debuted successfully in Melbourne last year and was also staged in Washington DC in March.

Williamson insists that he has nothing to worry about as "the lawyers went over everything very carefully" and the phone hacking scandal is "a minor part of the big picture".

"Rupert has never shown much interest in the stuff that gets written about him," he said.


US actor James Cromwell, 74, will take on the role of Murdoch in Sydney next month because he does not think his career could be affected.

"I like taking on the dragon and Murdoch is definitely the dragon," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"Let's put it this way – I'm not at the beginning of my career. I don't give a f*ck what he does to me. If this is going to be my last shot, I think it’s a good one."

As of yet, it remains unclear if any British actors will be prepared to risk Murdoch's wrath.