Talk of the trade: Knight to a king

A NEW British film - and with only 20-odd produced here last year, such things are an event - is under discussion. Sir Ian McKellen wants to be the first since Olivier to play Richard III on film, and looks like getting there before the same thought occurs to Kenneth Branagh. The McKellen version is likely to have a screenplay adaptation by Richard Eyre, the National Theatre's artistic director, and is sure to bear strong similarities to the Eyre/McKellen production that has triumphed around the world over the last two years.

So will this prove a lifeline to the perpetually cash-starved National Theatre? It appears not. Apparently, even with a film based on the same production with the same lead actor, there are no obligations to help the taxpayer fund its original source. Mind you, perhaps after two years on National Theatre pay, Sir Ian deserves to reap larger rewards.

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