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In 1947 the young playwright Arthur Miller and theatre director Elia Kazan were riding high on the success of Death of a Salesman. They had brought socially committed drama to Broadway and become close friends. Now they wanted to do the same for Hollywood.
They arrived in tinsel town with a hard-hitting screenplay set amongst the corruption of the New York docks, adding to their reputation as left-wing firebrands. Meanwhile the House Un-American Activities Committee had come to Hollywood determined to root out Communist infiltration in the movie business. The blacklist was initiated. Elia Kazan had taken up with the soon-to-be-discovered Marilyn Monroe and introduced her to Arthur Miller.
A cast of five actors; Fiona Glascott, Daniel Weyman, Ilan Goodman, David Horovitch, Nigel Anthony and Julian Wadham tells their story by means of contemporary accounts and extracts from Arthur Miller’s plays. An American Friendship explores the moral dilemmas the two men faced, the role of Marilyn Monroe, and the fate of their friendship.
Tristram Powell has had an extensive career making BBC arts documentaries. He made the first long documentary on Marchel Duchamp and also put on the first Samuel Beckett dramas specially written for television. He worked with Melvyn Bragg in the early 70s, persuading many writers unfamiliar with TV to appear on BBC2. He also developed a number of drama docs on lesser known writers and made the first serious documentary on the Hollywood Blacklist. Moving into drama, Powell made films for both the BBC and ITV. His credits include adaptations of Philip Roth’s The Ghost Writer and Jane Howard’s Falling. He also worked for Lynda La Plant, many crime procedurals, and was involved in a number of episodes of Foyle’s War. His feature film American Friends starred and was co-written with Michael Palin.
Honor Borwick has worked in the theatre, publishing, independent television and film, theatre, radio, and as a script editor. This will be her third year producing a theatrical piece for Jewish Book Week.
Fiona Glascott recently joined the star studded cast of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the second in the franchise, directed by David Yates. Last year Fiona also filmed Supervized alongside Tom Berenger and Beau Bridges. Fiona starred in Academy Award nominated Brooklyn playing Rose, the sister to Saoirse Ronan’s character.
Ilan Goodman is a graduate of RADA. He was at the Old Vic Theatre in Six Degrees of Separation, made his National Theatre debut in Danton’s Death and his Royal Court debut in Chicken Soup with Barley. He is Henry Goodman’s son.
Actor David Horovitch has appeared in numerous film and television productions, including Mr Turner, 102 Dalmatians, Solomon and Gaenor, Foyle’s War and Midsomer Murders. His theatre appearances include Hysteria, Grief, Love’s Labour’s Lost/Much Ado About Nothing, All My Sons and All the Angels.
Nigel Anthony started as a boy actor in the 1950s appearing in many short-trousered roles including, on TV, Billy Bunter and, on radio, Jennings At School. His theatre work includes seasons at the Oxford Playhouse for Frank Hauser, The RSC, Stephen Joseph Theatre for Alan Ayckbourn, Chichester, Gaiety and Gate theatres Dublin and more recently a new take on The Importance Of Being Earnest in a nationwide tour.
Daniel Weyman is a prolific actor whose varied career spans film, television, theatre and audio work. He appeared as Adam Wainwright in ITV’s Foyle’s War, and as Reverend Hale in the Bristol Old Vic’s 2015 production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.
Julian Wadham is a film, television and theatre actor, known for multiple high profile productions including The Casual Vacancy (BBC Television), Iron Lady (Pathé, 2011), and Churchill (Salon Pictures, 2016). On the stage, he has appeared at the Royal National Theatre, The Royal Court Theatre, The Rose Theatre and the Theatre Royal Haymarket, among others.