One of the all-time great American movies is all about characters who look down on movies as an inferior form of art. 1950’s All About Eve, written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, is the story of Bette Davis’ aging Broadway star and Anne Baxter’s idealistic young fan, who finds her way into Davis’ life and activates all sorts of competitive, suspicious impulses, which may or may not be justified. It’s a screenwriting masterpiece, every line crackling with portent or with malevolent energy. The movie was originally adapted from a stage play, and now it’s about to become a whole new stage play, with some very serious talent involved. And it’ll probably have a great soundtrack, too.
The acclaimed Belgian theatre director Ivo Van Hove has adapted All About Eve into a stage play, and it’ll run next year at London’s Noël Coward Theatre. It’s got some serious fantasy casting: Gillian Anderson in the Bette Davis role and Lily James in Anne Baxter’s part. And PJ Harvey is writing a score for the play, as Harvey’s website announces.
For decades — since before Anderson first appeared in The X-Files — Harvey has been making music out of the sort of rage and desperation that All About Eve chronicles so astutely; it’s hard to imagine someone better-suited to the task. And she’s not new to scoring plays, either; two years ago, she composed the score for the play The Nest.
All About Eve will run at the Noël Coward Theatre 2/11 to 5/11.