BAZ BAMIGBOYE: What a catch - a Wolf Hall star in the West End 

Mark Rylance has taken the bait and will return to the London stage . . . in a play about some fishermen.

The actor, who won an Oscar and a Bafta this year for his work in Steven Spielberg’s Bridge Of Spies and the BBC drama Wolf Hall, will star in a play he co-wrote with poet Louis Jenkins about ice fishing called Nice Fish.

It’s a project in marked contrast to Spielberg’s movie adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG, in which Rylance plays the big-hearted title character and which had cineasts at the Cannes Film Festival calling home for comparisons to ET.

Mark Rylance

Reel deal: Mark Rylance, left, in Cannes promoting Spielberg’s movie adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG, right

The BFG, which also features the glorious Penelope Wilton as Her Maj, opens in the UK on July 22.

Nice Fish will see Rylance kitted out in fleece and thermals playing Ron, who accompanies his friend to fish for yellow perch on a frozen lake in Minnesota. 

It’s a meditation on friendship, solitude and landscape.

The piece is based mainly on Jenkins’s prose poems, with some linking dialogue by Rylance who, although born in Ashford, Kent, spent his adolescence in Minnesota’s neighbouring state, Wisconsin, where his parents taught at the University School of Milwaukee.

Iterations of Nice Fish have been performed in Minneapolis and Massachusetts. But the version that will open in the West End for a 12-week run in mid-November had a spell at St Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn earlier this year, with Rylance’s wife Claire van Kampen directing. 

I understand that van Kampen wants to bring Rylance’s co-star, Jim Lichtscheidl, and the other three members of the cast over to London, too.

Certainly, the Midwestern sensibility shared by Rylance and Lichtscheidl is vital to the show.

Meanwhile, Rylance is working with Spielberg again, on Ready Player One, based on Ernest Cline’s novel set in a futuristic, virtual reality world. 

And he will also appear in Christopher Nolan’s new picture, Dunkirk.


It was fun bumping into Orlando Bloom and his significant other, singer Katy Perry, at the Un Certain Regard screening of Captain Fantastic — starring Bloom’s Lord Of The Rings comrade-in-arms, Viggo Mortensen (he was Aragorn to Orlando’s Legolas).

I was highly amused, the next night, to spot the couple leaving famed chef Mamo’s Le Michelangelo restaurant in upmarket Antibes . . . with a police escort, no less.


Hard day at the office? It's nothing for Game of Thrones actress Rose

Rose Leslie is about to be subjected to a fate almost as bad as the one she endured in Game Of Thrones

Rose Leslie is about to be subjected to a fate almost as bad as the one she endured in Game Of Thrones

Rose Leslie is about to be subjected to a fate almost as bad as the one she endured in Game Of Thrones.

True, in the HBO series her character, Ygritte, is shot through the heart by an arrow, and winds up as a pile of ash.

Now the actress is preparing to star with Sara Stewart in Mike Bartlett’s play, Contractions.

Set in a ruthless corporate office, it’s the story of Emma (Rose’s character), a young woman who is confronted by a humourless human resources executive (is there any other kind?) concerning personal conduct in the work environment.

The play was originally on at the Royal Court, and I remember wanting to warn Emma to run.

Leslie agreed that the drama depicted a ‘merciless world’; and that the nameless character, to be played by Ms Stewart (who was in Bartlett’s TV drama Doctor Foster), was ‘inhuman’.

‘It’s weird, bizarre and cruel behaviour, and shows what it could be like living in a very competitive corporate world,’ she told me, before adding that she was still very excited about being in the show, which will run at the Sheffield Theatres Studio from June 27 through July 16.

Rose also appears opposite Kate Mara, Toby Jones and Paul Giamatti in director Luke Scott’s debut feature film Morgan, about a secretive robot lab.

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