‘Blackbird’ flies to cinemas

David Harrower to adapt own play into film

Jean Doumanian Prods. will develop a feature film adaptation of “Blackbird,” with playwright David Harrower aboard to script the drama about the faceoff between a middle-aged man and the then-underage girl with whom he had a relationship years earlier.

The project follows Doumanian’s recent announcement of a film based on another stage hit, “August: Osage County,” which playwright Tracy Letts is adapting for the screen. Doumanian is a lead producer of the Tony- and Pulitzer-winning play on Broadway.

Premiering at the Edinburgh Festival in 2005, “Blackbird” transferred to London’s West End, where that well-received run won the 2007 Olivier Award for new play. It was produced the same year Off Broadway by Manhattan Theater Club in a staging directed by Joe Mantello and starring Jeff Daniels and Alison Pill.

Also in 2007, Cate Blanchett directed the play’s Australian premiere for the Sydney Theater Company, while next summer, a production toplining “CSI” star William L. Petersen is scheduled to play Chicago’s Victory Gardens.

“When I saw ‘Blackbird’ onstage, I was really struck by the raw, emotional intensity of David Harrower’s characters and their gripping story,” said Doumanian. The two-character drama details the emotional clash when a woman in her 20s shows up unexpectedly at the office of an older man with whom she was involved during her early teens, years after he has relocated and changed his name in order to distance himself from the past.

Harrower is also penning the screenplay for “White Male Heart,” scheduled to shoot next spring starring Cillian Murphy. His other works for the stage include “Knives in Hens” and adaptations of Pirandello’s “Six Characters in Search of an Author,” Chekhov’s “Ivanov” and Brecht’s “The Good Soul of Szechuan.”

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