Paul Bettany and Jeremy Pope are reprising their acclaimed stage roles for the movie, which will have a screenplay by the play’s writer, four-time Oscar nominee Anthony McCarten.
McCarten is well versed in the art of the biographical screenplays, having written about Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything and Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody.
With a modest budget of $20 million, the movie will be directed by the play’s original director, Young Vic artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah, who is making his feature film debut with The Collaboration. The movie starts filming in three weeks time on the Lower East Side of New York.
The location is where the protagonist of the play, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, used to hang out in the 1980s. They were two of the greatest artists of the 20th Century, and are brought together by McCarten for an imaginary conversation, depicting how the two eccentric, electric artists worked together.
Kwame Kwei-Armah recently told the Observer that “Going into my first feature knowing that my two leads have got the characters locked down – albeit the script is slightly different – is a great comfort to me.”
The London production of The Collaboration is also transferring to Broadway. And Kwei-Armah has confirmed that more Young Vic shows are going to transfer into the West End. One show that is getting lots of West End buzz for a transfer is the Young Vic’s hit revival of Oklahoma! It is also unclear whether they will bring the production of The Collaboration home after Broadway and transfer it into the West End.