Oscar winner Kate Winslet looks set for stage debut opposite Bill Nighy



00:17 GMT, 16 March 2012

Kate Winslet has been exploring the possibility of making her stage debut.

The Oscar-winning actress has spoken several times with David Hare, with a view to him directing her in his play Skylight.

The plan, at least on paper, is for Bill Nighy to star as Tom Sargeant (a role he played back in 1997), a famous restaurateur who meets a former mistress with whom he’d had an affair while his wife was still alive.

Titanic change of course: Kate Winslet

Titanic change of course: Kate Winslet, pictured at the 37th Cesar French Film Awards in Paris last month, is set for her stage debut

Kyra Hollis, the ex-lover who lives in
self-exile in a garret studio, to atone for the illicit liaison, is the
role Kate would take if the play goes ahead.

a terrific drama. The original production, featuring Michael Gambon and
Lia Williams, ran at the National and in the West End. It won an
Olivier for best play, and later a stack of Tony awards on Broadway.

has been contemplating doing the play for the past three or four months
and has been attempting to clear her schedule at the end of this year
and into next, in order to do it.

‘She’s in love with the play and would very much like to do it,’ a source connected to the production told me.

Leading man: Bill Nighy could co-star with Kate Winslet

Leading man: Bill Nighy could co-star with Winslet

But I understand there are some
obstacles of a private nature that would need to be sorted out before
she can sign on the dotted line and officially commit. Also to be
determined is whether the play would be produced here in London’s West
End or on Broadway.

If Kate can sort her schedule out, then the play will happen. If she can’t, she won’t be treading the boards any time soon – which would be a great shame.

‘It may change, and the way is clear for her to do Skylight, but there’s no 100 per cent guarantee,’ a theatre executive told me.

Kate has never made a secret of her desire to appear on the stage. Many years ago, she was going to work with Sam Mendes, back when he was artistic director of the Donmar.

After they married, there was more, tentative talk of him directing her on stage, but for various reasons it never happened.

At the moment, in between looking after her two children, Mia and Joe, Kate is preparing for the launch of the 3D version of her epic film Titanic on April 6.

Then she will shoot Jason Reitman’s film Labor Day, alongside Josh Brolin. The movie Guernsey (based on the bestseller The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society) – in which she had been due to star – has been put back for further development.

Flirty Bertie gets hands-on with Anne
Tasty role: Bertie Carvel

Tasty role: Bertie Carvel

Cameron Mackintosh has helped gather some of the top talent in the West End to take on non-star roles in Tom Hooper’s film of the musical Les Miserables.

Bertie Carvel, one of our best stage actors who all but steals the musical Matilda, has a tasty part as Bamatabois, the snarky dandy who attacks Fantine and then claims she assaulted him. Carvel will get to push snow down the front of Anne Hathaway’s dress.

Daniel Evans, the two-time Olivier Award-winning actor – now director of Sheffield Theatres – is also in the cast, along with Adrian Scarborough.

Several actors who have performed on stage in Les Miserables (past and present) have parts in the film.

They include Caroline Sheen, Hadley Fraser, Killian Donnelly, Mike Jibson, Linzi Hateley, Gemma Wardle, Katy Secombe, Gina Beck, Fra Fee, Alexia Khadine and Katie Hall.

‘It’s what happened when they made the film version of Oliver!,’ Mackintosh told me.

‘Everyone who was in a West End musical auditioned for the film. It means you’ve got the cream of London in the film.’

Several of the actors have been rehearsing along- side Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe.

Members of the student ensemble, such as Matt Corner and Jos Slovick, will be manning the barricades next to Eddie Redmayne and Aaron Tveit.

And as already revealed on this page, Colm Wilkinson and Frances Ruffelle – stars of the original production – have small, but significant roles, while a veteran (aged 12) has landed the coveted part of cheeky Parisian street lad Gavroche. Daniel Huttlestone, who began his career as a nipper with Rowan Atkinson in Oliver!, has already played Gavroche on stage.

Claire Foy is revisiting the Sixties in BBC2 drama White Heat. Next stop 1990, for a new play about the legacy of the baby boomers.

‘I used to think of period drama as Jane Austen, but it’s recent history as well,’ said Claire, when we discussed the London premiere of Mike Bartlett’s play Love, Love, Love, which will run at the Royal Court from April 27 as a co-production with Paines Plough.

Claire Foy

George Rainsford

Stage siblings: Claire Foy and George Rainsford

The play is about a couple, played by Victoria Hamilton and Ben Miles, who had a fun time in the Sixties. But when they reach their 60s, their children accuse them of screwing up their lives.

Claire will play their daughter Rosie, who ends up having a mid-life crisis. George Rainsford will play their son Jamie, who lives rent-free at home. Sam Troughton will play their uncle.

Director James Grieve, who is also co-director of Paines Plough, told me that the play explores the view that the baby boomers had it easy compared to today’s generation.