Ewan McGregor to play Iago at the Donmar

By Louise JuryEwan McGregor is to lead a production of Othello to mark the fifth anniversary of Michael Grandage as artistic director of the Donmar theatre.The Scot will be joined by Chiwetel Ejiofor, star of Kinky Boots and Dirty Pretty Things, and Kelly Reilly, who was in Mrs Henderson Presents.It is a dream union of three actors who have played an important part in the Donmar’s work over five years.All turned down possible film roles to take on Shakespeare in the 250-seat auditorium and work with Grandage again.He said: “They all cleared the decks and committed to it.” McGregor, 36, made his West End musical debut in Guys And Dolls, which was the Donmar’s first production initiated outside its own venue. He will play Iago.Ejiofor appeared in The Vortex, Grandage’s inaugural show as artistic director, and has the title role. Reilly, who won rave reviews for After Miss Julie, returns to play Desdemona.The production, which will run from 29 November to 23 February, will launch the next stage of Grandage’s work at the small but prestigious Covent Garden venue. Although he is on a rolling contract, he has committed to staying and will shortly present his next five-year plan to the board.He said: “It’s always nice to have an announcement of this calibre and to use it as an opportunity to say that I am looking forward to the next few years.”Grandage had a tough act to follow when he succeeded Sam Mendes, who ran the theatre for 10 years before leaving to make more Hollywood films after the Oscar-winning American Beauty.Mendes built up a loyal following with clever West End revivals and strong American drama. Grandage added European-playwrights such as Albert Camus, Dario Fo and Luigi Pirandello to the repertoire. Othello will be his first Shakespeare at the Donmar.He suggested the role of Iago to McGregor during Guys And Dolls.He said: “I was very aware that I was working with someone who had an extraordinary ease, a charm that he didn’t have to put on.”One of the problems with Iago is everyone always plays him as a baddie and then the audience don’t understand why people on the stage can’t see that.”But it’s because he is utterly charming.”Source: thisislondon.co.uk