Aaron Taylor-Johnson to star in “The Pillowman”

Photo credit: Gareth Cattermole

Aaron Taylor-Johnson will make his West End stage debut in the new production of Martin McDonagh’s 2003 dark comedy “The Pillowman”. The British actor is best known for his roles in “Anna Karenina”, “Avengers: Age of Ultron”, “Godzilla”. In 2017 he won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for his performance of a psychopath named Ray in Tom Ford’s “Nocturnal Animals.”

Tom Ford, Amy Adams and Aaron Taylor-Johnson attend the premiere “Nocturnal animals” (Photo credit: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images Europe)

At the age of 9, Taylor-Johnson has already appeared on London stage, taking part in 2000 National Theatre production of Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons”.

Martin McDonagh’s play “The Pillowman” is one of his darkest works. It is set in a police state and tells a story of a fiction writer Katurian who is arrested and questioned by two detectives. Series of local child murders bear a striking resemblance to murders described in Katurian’s stories, making him the prime suspect.

Steve Pemberton (Photo credit: Sophie Mutevelian )

Aaron Taylor-Johnson will play the main character Katurian, joined by Steve Pemberton, a BAFTA winner for “The League of Gentlemen”, who will play detective Tupolski. The production will reunite McDonagh with director Matthew Dunster and will feature costume and set design by Anna Fleischle.

Martin McDonagh, Sam Rockwell and Frances McDormand “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” during the 75th annual Golden Globe Awards (Photo credit: Lucy Nicholson / Reuters)

Oscar-winning British-Irish writer Martin McDonagh is considered among the most acclaimed living Irish playwrights, his works include “In Bruges”, “Seven Psychopaths”, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and “Six Shooter”. Amongst most critically-acclaimed theatre plays are “Hangmen”, “The Lieutenant of Inishmore”, “The Cripple of Inishmaan” and a “A Very Very Very Dark Matter”.  McDonagh’s play “Hangmen” premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in 2015, it was directed by Matthew Dunster with David Morrissey as a lead. The production won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play in 2016. From March 2020 the play is available on Broadway.

“Hangmen” Royal Court Theatre, 2015

Martin McDonagh said: “”The Pillowman” is a play that’s always been very close to my heart, in terms of its combination of the darkest of dark comedy with its exploration of the nature of story-telling itself. It’s a play that I haven’t wanted to have staged in London until I could find the perfect director and the ideal cast for it, and having worked with Matthew previously on Hangmen, and been an admirer of Steve and Aaron’s work for many years, I feel it’s the perfect time to find out what a whole new generation makes of this peculiar tale…”

Speaking about casting Taylor-Johnson as a lead, Martin added: “I saw him in “Nocturnal Animals”. He was dangerous in that. He’s an edgy actor.’

Aaron Taylor-Johnson “Nocturnal animals”

“The Pillowman” play won the Olivier Award for Best New Play, it premiered in 2003 at the National Theatre,  starring David Tennant as Katurian and Jim Broadbent as Tupolski.

“The Pillowman” Royal National Theatre, 2003

The original 2005 Broadway production of the show starring Jeff Goldblum and Billy Crudup won two Tony Awards for Best Scenic Design and Best Lighting Design.

“The Pillowman” will run at the Duke of York’s Theatre from 24th July to 17th October 2020. Tickets are available now.

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