Exciting news: Variety has reported that Film Constellation is selling the rights to an upcoming Samuel Beckett biopic, with Oscar winner James Marsh (Man on Wire; The Theory of Everything) directing, BAFTA winner Neil Forsyth (Guilt; Eric, Ernie & Me) writing the adaptation, and Golden Globe winner Gabriel Byrne (Hereditary; Death of a Ladies’ Man; Louder Than Bombs; The Usual Suspects; Miller’s Crossing) starring as Samuel Beckett.
Dance First—from the Beckett quote “Dance first, think later”—revolves around the moment in 1969 when Beckett was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature and was ashamed to be recognized; still, the film touches on many elements of his life, as a playwright, Parisian socialite, WWII fighter, unfaithful husband, and recluse. And, the film has a bold—one might even say a Beckettian—structure: Beckett discussing his life’s mistakes with “an antagonistic alter ego,” another version of himself. (Byrne will play both.) But, says Marsh, “You don’t need to be a student of Beckett to enjoy this film—the script is both witty and dramatic, focusing on the key relationships in his life and including some startling episodes such as his active involvement in the French Resistance and his near-fatal stabbing by a pimp in Paris.”
Though no further casting details are available at this time, Marsh also told Variety that they “expect to build a powerful ensemble cast around [Byrne].” While you wait for more information, you can tide yourself over with a video of the real Beckett—a bizarre wordless “interview” he did after winning the Nobel Prize. Classic Beckett.