Channing Takes Stock In Stoppard’s ‘Hapgood’

Stockard Channing, currently starring in Tom Stoppard’s critically acclaimed “Hapgood” at Lincoln Center, has optioned the feature film rights to the material from the playwright. The play, which opened in December, has been extended twice and will run through March 26.

Channing got an Oscar nom last year for her turn in MGM’s feature adaptation of “Six Degrees of Separation,” a role for which she was Tony-nominated at Lincoln Center.

She plans to star in and executive produce the feature version of “Hapgood,” with Stoppard adapting for the big screen.

The play, a dark meditation on the life and loves of the female head of a British intelligence agency, bowed in Los Angeles in 1989 in an indifferently received production.

In an unusual move, Stoppard gave Channing the option for “Hapgood” free of charge. “Several people said to me this would make a great movie. So I called up Tom over the New Year’s holidays and we discussed it,” said Channing. “We both wanted to present the intellectual vigor, the passion, the sexuality and darkness of the piece.

“We decided to become creative partners on this. He agreed, but said he felt funny taking money from his friends. And I said, ‘Force yourself.’ We drew up a legal agreement but no money changed hands.”

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