Dustin Hoffman, Sam Neill and Eileen Atkins have signed on to lead Mr. Shaw Goes To Hollywood, a golden age comedy. The film will also star Derek Jacobi, Aidan Turner, Roger Allam, and Brittany Snow.
Set in 1933, the film will chart how celebrated playwright George Bernard Shaw visited Hollywood with his formidable wife, Charlotte. The idea of turning Shaw’s most successful play, Pygmalion, into a film was a hot topic of conversation as Hollywood royalty vied for his attention, desperate to be part of the next big talkie.
But did Shaw have any intention of selling the rights to his beloved story to a film studio in the first place? Mr. Shaw Goes To Hollywood tells the story of what might have happened before the world came to know the play in its guise as a musical – My Fair Lady.
Jacobi will play Shaw, while Hoffman will portray legendary studio boss Louis B Mayer, co-founder of MGM. Turner will play Clark Gable and Neill will be William Randolph Hearst.
Simon Callow (Four Weddings And A Funeral) will direct the film from a screenplay by seven-time Emmy winner and Sesame Street alum Mark Saltzman. He previously wrote the play of the same name.
Callow is a sensible choice to direct this play adaptation, having directed on both stage and screen, while it’s always a smart choice to simply have the writer of the source material pen the film version.
Callow said of the project:
“Mark Saltzman‘s sparkling screenplay shows us what happens when such a man encounters someone whose work he wants but whose wealth and fame make him unbiddable […] We see the brutal truth of what lies behind the elegant, witty surface; it is a spectacle both delicious and sobering.”
This is the second project announced this week that is starring Hollywood elite from previous generations, after Morgan Freeman, Al Pacino, Helen Mirren and Danny DeVito signed on to star in modern day noir Sniff.
Bankside will sell Mr. Shaw Goes To Hollywood at TIFF, which begins this week.