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Anthony Head

Anthony Stewart Head to return to his transvestite roots

Tuesday 8 November 2005, by Webmaster

Sneak preview: Otherwise Engaged and Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

The insider guide to forthcoming attractions, by Nicola Christie

Anthony Head can currently be seen alongside Richard E Grant in London’s West End, playing a gloriously drunk journalist in Simon Gray’s Otherwise Engaged. And the two look set to collaborate again, in a film that Grant has written - based on his 1998 comic novel By Design - in which Head will play a transvestite.

"The story is really about what goes on in the making of a movie, as opposed to the PR version," says Grant.

"I need an interior designer and a masseuse, but I would really like to direct Tony as a transvestite, so I’m trying to work in a character." Supposing he does, would Head be game to get in touch with his feminine side? "Absolutely," he says. "I really love Richard. It would be great to be directed by him. And I have good legs."

• Christopher Hampton is somewhat relieved after handing in a first draft of his screen adaptation of Susanna Clarke’s mammoth novel Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. "As you can imagine, it took a fair amount of time to work out some way to encapsulate that enormous book in a film of sensible length," he says. "But it was lots of fun - and very unlike anything I have ever done before."

As yet, there is no director or cast attached, but people will no doubt queue up to be involved in such a fantastical project: set in the 19th-century, Clarke’s 800-page debut describes a country that suddenly crackles with magic after the dark arts have been in abeyance for 500 years. Hampton won an Oscar in 1989 for his screenplay of Dangerous Liaisons; New Line Cinema will be hoping for more of the same.

• News that a musical based on Daphne du Maurier’s classic chiller Rebecca will receive its world première next year shouldn’t cause too many sleepless nights for Nigel Havers, who currently stars as Maxim de Winter in Frank McGuinness’s stage version at the Theatre Royal, Bath.

For the new show is in German - penned by Euro-pop duo Michael Kunze and Sylvester Levay, it will be directed by Francesca Zambello and is slated to open in Vienna in the autumn of 2006. But talks are already under way to mount an English-language production in the West End.

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