Bryan Cranston is set to make his London stage bow in a brand new National Theatre production of Sidney Lumet’s classic 1976 film, Network. A powerful satire of the television industry, it follows the agonising unravelling of presenter Howard Beale as he’s ruthlessly exploited by station execs cynically chasing ratings.
Beale is a highly combustible character famed for his iconic “mad as hell” monologue – it’s a role that should fit Cranston like a pair of big yellow rubber gloves. The Breaking Bad actor will also be able to draw on his Tony Award-winning depiction of Lyndon B Johnson in the Broadway play, ‘All the Way’.
There’s much more to Network than a balls-to-the-wall central performance though, and Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall will have a tough job on his hands if he’s to improve on Paddy Chayefsky’s Oscar-winning screenplay. Network’s caustic media commentary has never felt more relevant, and given current broadcasting trends the producers of this stage version won’t be lacking for inspiration.
Published 27 Jan 2017
The Trumbo star cuts loose about why the case of the Hollywood Ten should be viewed as a cautionary tale.
By Tom Bond
From Network to Nightcrawler, cinema has a long history of exposing television’s rotten core.