"The Dresser" (TV movie) is an original film on Starz that is Richard Eyre's ("Notes on a Scandal," "Iris") adaptation of Ronald Harwood's critically acclaimed play. The movie brings Ian McKellen and Anthony Hopkins together on screen for the first time in their acclaimed careers.

The film tells the story of one fateful night, backstage in a small regional theater during World War II as a troupe of touring actors stages a production of Shakespeare's "King Lear." Bombs are falling, sirens are wailing, the curtain is up in an hour but the actor/manager Sir (Hopkins) who is playing Lear is nowhere to be seen. His dresser, Norman (McKellen), must scramble to make sure the show goes on but will Sir turn up in time and if he does will he be able to perform that night?

The film is a wickedly funny and deeply moving story of friendship and loyalty as Sir reflects on his lifelong accomplishments and seeks to reconcile his turbulent friendships with those in his employ before the final curtain. It was first adapted for the screen by Harwood himself 32 years ago, in the 1983 Peter Yates film starring Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay. The current production reverts to Ronald Harwood's original text as it was written for the stage.

Rounding out the stellar cast are Emily Watson ("Hilary and Jackie," "Breaking Waves") as Her Ladyship, Sarah Lancashire ("Happy Valley," "Last Tango in Halifax") as stage manager Madge, Vanessa Kirby as Irene, Edward Fox as Thornton, Tom Brooke as Oxenby/Edmond, John Ashton as Gloucester, Ian Conningham as Kent, Annalisa Rossi as Goneril, Helen Bradbury as Regan, Carl Sanderson as Cornwall, Matthew Cottle as Albany, and Martin Chamberlain as Gentleman.

"The Dresser" is a Playground and Sonia Friedman Production for BBC and Starz in association with Altus Media and Prescience. Colin Callender and Sonia Friedman are executive producers. Polly Hill, Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning, is executive producer for BBC and Paul Brett and Tim Smith are executive producers for Prescience. The producer is Suzan Harrison. The movie is directed by Richard Eyre who directed an award-winning production of "King Lear" with Ian Holm for the National Theatre in 1997. The production was filmed in London.

'The Dresser': TV Review


Network: Starz
Genre: Drama
Premiere Date: May 30, 2016
Production Companies:
Sonia Friedman Productions
Altus Media

Ian Mckellen and Anthony Hopkins to Star in 'The Dresser' — Premiering Monday, May 30, the new Starz original movie brings the two legendary actors together on screen for the first time in their acclaimed careers. Read more...

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