Tom Stoppard’s ‘Leopoldstadt’ Shaping Up As A Series: Patrick Marber Scripting For Stephen Daldry To Direct With Steven Spielberg’s Amblin

EXCLUSIVE: This is early stage, no deals are done and it might not land until the strike’s over, but the most celebrated play to come along in a good long time is to be turned into a limited TV series with top talent. The play is Sir Tom Stoppard’s Leopoldstadt, which had a successful West End run before moving to Broadway last September. I’ve heard that Amblin and Steven Spielberg are shopping it with Patrick Marber adapting (the Closer writer/director was the play’s original director when it opened in London and he directed the current Broadway incarnation also), and the series will be directed by Stephen Daldry, The Crown multiple Emmy winner.

The play, which won the 2020 Olivier Award, is a chronicle of a Jewish family in Vienna over 50 years, from the turn of the 20th Century through the hardship of WWI, through the Nazi scourge of WWII and the Holocaust, and beyond. WWII was devastating to the family, as numerous members were murdered in the Holocaust. Stoppard himself lost all four of his grandparents in concentration camps, and inspired the play, with speculation Leopoldstadt will be Stoppard’s final masterwork. It is a frontrunner to win Best Play of the year at the upcoming Tony Awards skedded for June 11, and received rapturous critical reception and awards so far from the New York Drama League, the Outer Critics Circle, and The New York Drama Critics Circle. It is not unrelentingly downbeat despite the subject matter; it is poignant, sad, funny and incredibly intelligent.

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Tom Stoppard and Patrick Marber
Tom Stoppard and Patrick Marber

Discussions on the series began discreetly before the strike, and progress would not begin until the labor unrest is finished. A broadcast platform needs to step up, but that does not seem like it should be a problem, given the caliber of the creatives and the importance of Stoppard’s play. Stay tuned.

Marber is repped by CAA, LBI Entertainment and United Agents, and Daldry by CAA.

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