Modified American plan

Scratch Nicholas Hytner from the list of candidates rumored to succeed Richard Eyre at the Royal National Theater when Eyre steps down in September 1997, after nearly a decade in the job.

“I absolutely won’t be applying; that is as definite as things can be,” Hytner, 38, said during a brief pre-Oscar visit to London to tubthump the local premiere of his four-times-nominated “The Madness of King George.” “It’s not something I would want to do, and I wouldn’t do it very well. I’ve never run a building, and I’m not in the market to teach myself calmly; I’m too anxious to direct things.”

His track record in London and New York has spawned no shortage of producers anxious to have him, though Hytner – riding high on the success of his first-ever film – is committed to movies at present. (He returns briefly to opera, an early stomping ground, in May when he directs Janacek’s “The Cunning Little Vixen” in Paris, designed by wizardly “Carousel” colleague Bob Crowley.)

He is developing film scripts with both Wendy Wasserstein and Martin Sherman, and in September starts a $20 million adaptation for 20th Century Fox of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible,” written by the playwright.

Has the theater lost Hytner forever? “Obviously, what I would like to do is make a couple more movies that work which will make me slightly more impregnable to a flop.” After that, he envisions a career made up of “a film and a play, a film and a play.”

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