Stage Beauty

Release Date: October 8, 2004
Limited release

Dude, that's not Mary-Louise Parker!

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10/133 Dan Krovich Shakespeare in Love for the new millennium

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Flash back to 1998 and the release of Shakespeare in Love. Do you remember the back story behind the reason that Gwyneth Paltrow's character had to be a theatrical transvestite in order to continue stalking Will Shakespeare? For those of you with short attention spans (Ooh, shiny!), the answer is that in that time period women were not allowed to work onstage. Instead, effeminate men played the female roles, thereby setting the stage for centuries of word association between the theater and homosexuality.

Stage Beauty uses this concept as the basis for a movie about such a straight stage transvestite played by BOP fave Billy Crudup, aka our beloved Russell Hammond in Almost Famous. His Edward "Ned" Kynaston is the toast of England. The most recognized thespian in the business, Edward has made his reputation portraying the tragic Desdemona in a popular version of Othello. Graced with cherubic beauty, the actor has stolen the hearts of men and women alike with his stage presence.

Like any good 17th century version of Behind the Music, Ned's world suddenly comes crashing down. The cause is his well-meaning assistant, Maria (Claire Danes, the Russell Crowe to Crudup's Meg Ryan if you believe gossip from the set). Having watched the master for so long, Maria uses this knowledge to perform as Ophelia in a late night pub production.

Maria's efforts become a sensation to the point that King Charles II (Rupert Everett, who coincidentally, was also in Shakespeare in Love) decrees that men are to be banned from ever playing women's roles again on stage. While great news for Maria, the royal edict unemploys Ned.

Since she's crushing on the pretty boy, Maria has no chance to undo the emasculation of the man she loves...a guy who has ironically gotten his sense of manhood thanks in large part to dressing up as a lady. How will she pull off this feat and thereby win the heart of the transvestite she loves? Those would be spoilers. Spend the $7 and find out for yourself. (David Mumpower/BOP)

Vital statistics for Stage Beauty
Main Cast Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Rupert Everett
Supporting Cast Hugh Bonneville, Nancy Chandler, Ben Chaplin, Tom Wilkinson, Richard Griffiths
Director Richard Eyre
Screenwriter Jeffrey Hatcher
Distributor Lions Gate
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating R
Running Time 105 minutes
Screen Count 3
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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