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Stage Beauty Details


The true story of two performers whose careers were changed forever by a shift in gender roles on the British stage comes to the screen in this adaptation of the play Compleat Female Stage Beauty by Jeffrey Hatcher. In London, in the latter half of the 17th century, Ned Kynaston (Billy Crudup) is a noted star of the legitimate theater with an unusual specialty -- at a time when it was considered unseemly for women to work as thespians, Kynaston specialized in female roles, and was described by one writer as the most beautiful woman on the London stage. With the help of his faithful dresser, Maria Hughes (Claire Danes), Kynaston can turn himself into a striking actress in front of the footlights, and is starring opposite Thomas Betterton (Tom Wilkinson) in a production of Shakespeare's Othello when, while still in costume after a performance, he is propositioned by theatrical impresario Sir Charles Sedley (Richard Griffiths). The sexually open-minded Sedley isn't discouraged to learn Kynaston is a man, but he is bitterly angered by the actor's flip rejection of his advances. Sedley takes revenge against Kynaston by hiring a gang of criminals to beat him up. With Betterton's production of Othello closed while the leading "lady" recuperates, Hughes sees an opportunity and stages an underground version of the play, casting herself as Desdemona. While she lacks Kynaston's dramatic skills, the daring of her appearance on-stage creates a sensation, and King Charles II (Rupert Everett), a noted theater buff, is so taken with Hughes that he declares women should play women from now on. But as Hughes' star rises, Kynaston's quickly falls, and he becomes a bitter, forgotten man. When the novelty of Hughes' gender wears off and her failings as an thespian become obvious, she turns to her former friend Kynaston, hoping he can teach her to be as good an actress as he was. Stage Beauty's supporting cast includes Ben Chaplin, Edward Fox, and Hugh Bonneville. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

  • Release date:October 15, 2004


Billy Crudup
as Ned Kynaston
Claire Danes
as Maria Hughes
Rupert Everett
as King Charles II
Tom Wilkinson
as Thomas Betterton
Ben Chaplin
as George Villars, Duke of Buckingham
Hugh Bonneville
as Samuel Pepys
Richard Griffiths
as Sir Charles Sedley
Edward Fox
as Sir Edward Hyde
Zoe Tapper
as Nell Gwynn
Andy Merchant
as 1st Thug
Derek Hutchinson
as Stage Manager
Clare Higgins
as Mistress Revels
Tom Hollander
as Sir Peter Lely
Fenella Woolgar
as Lady Meresvale
Alice Eve
as Miss Frayne
Isabella Calthorpe
as Lady Jane Bellamy
Stephen Marcus
as Thomas Cockerell
David Westhead
as Harry
Mark Letheren
as Male Emilia/Dickie
John Tannen
as 3rd Thug
Madeleine Worrall
as Female Emilia
Hermione Gulliford
as Mrs. Barry
Nick Barber
as Nick
Jack Kempton
as Call Boy


Richard Eyre
Robert De Niro
Jane Rosenthal
Hardy Justice
Jeffrey Hatcher
Play Author
Jeffrey Hatcher
Andrew Dunn
George Fenton
Composer (Music Score)
Tariq Anwar
Jim Clay
Production Designer
Jan Spoczynski
Art Director
Keith Slote
Art Director
Michael Dreyer
Michael Kuhn
Executive Producer
Rachel Cohen
Executive Producer
Richard Eyre
Executive Producer
James D. Stern
Executive Producer
Caroline Smith
Set Decorator
Tim Hatley
Costume Designer
Gerry Vasbenter
Camera Operator
Andrew Dunn
Camera Operator
Mark Milsome
Camera Operator
Gordon Seed
Scarlett Mackmin
Celestia Fox
Nicola Barnes
Ricky Churchouse
Sue Quinn
Location Manager
Eddy Kolkiewicz
Negative Cutter
Caroline Waterman
Assistant Costume Designer
Caroline Olcesi
Costumes Assistant
Gill Ducker
Paul Clancy
Special Effects Technician
Craig Irving
Re-Recording Mixer
Beverly Binda
Beverly Binda
Hair Styles
Cathal Macilwaine
Standby Carpenter
Charlie Waller
Third Assistant Director
Michael Pelham
Clive Coote
Still Photographer
Brian Bovingdon
Gabrielle Le Rasle
Assistant Production Coordinator
Anthony Allen
Claire Lundberg
Personal Assistant
Mark Haddenham
Special Effects Technician
Meg Clark
Post Production Supervisor
Simon Sanderson
Anthony Brookman
Costumes Assistant
Stuart Brisdon
Special Effects Supervisor
Garth Sewell
Craig Parratt
Joan Schneider
Production Coordinator
Mark Milsome
Focus Puller
Harry Bowers
Camera Loader
Malcolm Huse
Key Grip
Lisa Westcott
Hair Styles
Lisa Westcott
Heidi Gower
Brendan Donnison
Voice Casting
Gavin Fitch
Assistant Art Director
Tonia Wright
Personal Assistant
Malcolm Ritchie
Co-Executive Producer
Julie Dartnell
Hair Styles
David Keen
Special Effects Technician
Julie Dartnell
David Humphries
ADR Mixer
Gareth Bull
Foley Mixer
Khadeeja Rafique
Ronald Leighton
Celia Yau
Costumes Assistant
Amanda Leggatt
Oliver Goodier
Peter Mounsey
Caroline Oxley-McLeod
Foley Editor
Finn McGrath
Second Assistant Director
John Ivall
Matthew Whelan
Lucy Ainsworth-Taylor
Visual Effects Producer
Peter Wing
Peter Burgis
Foley Artist
Allison Wyldeck
Costumes Supervisor
Ben Barker
Foley Editor
Jim Greenhorn
Production Sound Mixer
Jeff Sullivan
Aurelia Thomas
Assistant Location Manager
Tom Delmar
Stunts Coordinator
Sophie Cornet
Music Editor
Jill Tandy
Co-Executive Producer
Tariq Anwar
ADR Editor
Tariq Anwar
Dialogue Editor
Sam Goldie
Camera Loader
Mark Keeling
Mark Lafbery
ADR Mixer
Colin Gallagher
Phillip McDonald
Properties Master
Saska Simpson
Associate Editor
Joseph Jayawardena
Unit Production Manager
Alexandra Arlango
Personal Assistant
Gerry Vasbenter
Steadicam Operator