Stage adaptation bows in London this summer

Josh Hartnett will make his West End debut toplining a new stage adaptation of “Rain Man” that begins perfs in London later this summer.

Hartnett plays the Tom Cruise character in the legit version of 1988 pic “Rain Man,” with Brit thesp Adam Godley (“The Pillowman”) co-starring as the autistic savant played onscreen by Dustin Hoffman.

Director David Grindley, whose Rialto resume includes “Journey’s End” and “Pygmalion,” helms the new adaptation by Dan Gordon (“The Hurricane,” “Wyatt Earp”). Film’s story, centered on a road trip taken by a narcissistic car dealer and the autistic older brother he never knew he had, has been updated to the present day.

Legit adaptations of movies have become increasingly common on London stages, with the Old Vic’s “All About My Mother” and Kneehigh’s “Brief Encounter” just two recent examples. Gordon, whose play “Irena’s Vow” opens Off Broadway in September, also wrote a stage version of “Terms of Endearment” that toured the U.K.

Nica Burns, Jane Walmsley, Michael Braham and Max Weitzenhoffer produce “Rain Man” in association with MGM On Stage, Darcie Denkert and Dean Stolber.

Original story of “Rain Man,” which won four Oscars in 1989 including best picture and actor (for Hoffman), is by Barry Morrow, who shares the screenplay credit with Ronald Bass.

Stage version runs Aug. 28-Dec. 20 at the Apollo Theater, with a press opening set for Sept. 9.

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