RA stated his upcoming play is based on “a novel, which became a 60s film classic.” Some food for thought - are any of the following a possibility?
He would more than likely enjoy playing a psychopathic killer but would the American accent requirement give him pause?
Wikipedia: Psycho is a 1960 American suspense film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The film is based on the screenplay by Joseph Stefano, who adapted it from the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch. The novel was based on the crimes of Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein. The film depicts the encounter between a secretary, Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), who is in hiding at a motel after embezzling from her employer, and the motel's owner, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), and the aftermath of their encounter.
Psycho initially received mixed reviews, but outstanding box office returns prompted a re-review which was overwhelmingly positive and led to four Academy Award nominations. Psycho is now considered one of Hitchcock's best films and is highly praised as a work of cinematic art by international critics.
There’s also the classic Tom Jones, however, Richard’s taste might run more to one of the following. (Some research will ferret out screenplays based on novels)
British "Kitchen Sink" Cinema: "Angry Young Men" Films
A new wave of grim, non-fictional, social realism in British cinema, dubbed or styled "Kitchen Sink" due to its angry, every-day working-class heroes, frank dialogue, and negative post-war themes, was exemplified in the grainy, powerful works of various directors in the late 50s and early 60s. Most of the directors had backgrounds in theatre, television and documentaries and brought their talents to the screen.
Their socially-conscious films were also categorized as "Angry Young Men" films, due to the fact that each one focused on the economic and social problems of a frustrated male protagonist who attempted to break free from society and its expectations, through the use of alcohol, sex, sports, and money, etc. They broke new material by portraying England's angry and alienated youth in fresh, energetic, and frank terms:
Director - Films:
Tony Richardson Look Back in Anger (1959), A Taste of Honey (1961)based on a play, and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962) - Based on a novel by Alan Sillitoe, who also wrote the screenplay (the lead role sounds too young for RA)
Jack Clayton *A Room at the Top (1959) - Based on the novel by John Braine
Clive Donner The Caretaker (1963) - Based on Harold Pinter's play of the same name
Michael Powell Peeping Tom (1960)
Karel Reisz Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960) based on a novel; and Morgan - A Suitable Case for Treatment (1966)
Lindsay Anderson This Sporting Life (1963)*novel(see below) & If... (1969)
Sidney Furie The Leather Boys (1963)
John Schlesinger A Kind of Loving (1962) and Billy Liar (1963)
*A Room at the Top sounds like the type of role Richard could sink his acting teeth into AND he's even better looking than Laurence Harvey. Really seems to be a good fit:
Director: Jack Clayton ; Genre: Drama; Movie Type: Melodrama
Themes: Ladder to the Top, Romantic Betrayal, Class Differences
Release Year: 1959........Country: UK
Plot: Ruthless young working-class Englishman takes a job in a North Country village controlled by millionaire Donald Wolfit. Harvey resents Wolfit's class consciousness and vows to rise to the top by wooing the millionaire's daughter, Heather Sears. Meanwhile he has an affair with a Frenchwoman. Though he regards her as a mere self-gratifying conquest, she takes their romance seriously enough to kill herself when Harvey impregnates Field. Only as he leaves the chapel after marrying the millionaire's daughter does Harvey learn that his "smart" marriage, coupled with the guarantee of a fabulous business career, has been attained at the cost of his soul. Based on the novel by John Braine, Room at the Top was one of the most successful films of the British angry-young-man school; it later spawned two sequels, as well as a weekly TV series. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide
Review: Room at the Top is somewhat tame by current standards, but in 1959 it caused the British Board of Film Censors to loosen their standards and allow the film's unusually frank dialogue. The British public was unaccustomed to films in which characters might admit that they enjoyed sex, and, as such, Room at the Top represented a breakthrough, even though it's a minor part of the film. Newfound frankness notwithstanding, the story is conventionally moralistic in its disapproval of its protagonist, who opts for the comfort of money over the ideals of love, honor, and compassion. Cast:Laurence Harvey - Joe Lampton ; Simone Signoret - Alice Aisgill
Donald Houston - Charlie Soames ; Ambrosine
Phillpotts - Mrs. Brown
Could RA play a role at least a decade younger in age? It was both based on a novel and indeed a 60's film classic:
Billy Liar is a sterling time capsule, an embodiment of a specific time (the early 1960s) and place (England’s upper counties) in British pop history. However, the leading role does make it a long shot.
The following appears to be an even closer fit than 'A Room at the Top' in the RA play possibilities:
This Sporting Life (1963)
Adapted by David Storey from his own novel, This Sporting Life stars Richard Harris as Frank, an athletic coal miner* who aspires to the greener pastures of professional *rugby. Soon establishing himself as one of the most brutal and arrogant players in the business, Frank begins to amass a fortune. He also falls in love with his landlady, Mrs. Hammond (Rachel Roberts), who initially resists his advances. When she finally gives in, their relationship hinges on sex alone, as Frank practically begs Mrs. Hammond to give of herself emotionally and she remains incapable. At the wedding ceremony for one of Frank's teammates, Mrs. Hammond unexpectedly lashes out at her swaggering lover. They split up, but Frank, who until now has equated happiness with wealth, is unable to get over the permanent loss. In the end, with nothing else left, all of Frank's self-worth becomes contingent on his rugby performances, though Frank and the other players are exploited to such a degree that this also proves disastrous. Widely regarded as one of the finest British feature films ever produced, the gritty and bleak This Sporting Life not only marked former documentary filmmaker Lindsay Anderson's first feature, but became one of the harbingers of the "Angry Young Man" school of filmmaking. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide
(*RA had coal-miner ancestors and he played rugby in Ultimate Force.)
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
28th November 2002---Saturday Night director dies
A week..marked by the death of Czech-born film director Karel Reisz, aged 76.........Paul Fillingham
Among Karel Reisz's other films were The French Lieutenant's Woman
Reisz began his career in 1960 with a film version of the seminal working class novel 'Saturday Night and Sunday Morning' which was penned by local author, Alan Sillitoe.
The film was shot on location in and around Nottingham's enormous Raleigh factory on Faraday Road, then the largest cycle manufacturing plant in the world.
Although most of the Raleigh factory has now gone, many of the film locations such as the Ropewalk, Derby Road, the Savoy Cinema in Lenton and Nottingham Castle are recognisable today.
The Eight Bells pub which featured in the film was demolished in the 1960s. Two of the house scenes were also shot at 5 Beaconsfield Terrace and 198 Norton Street, Radford.
Albert Finney looks suitably moody as Arthur Seaton
"Don't let the bastards grind you down" spits Seaton, in a manner that would have been shocking to post-war cinema audiences.
Peppered with this kind of dialogue and tackling the theme of class struggle 'Saturday Night and Sunday Morning' put Reisz at the forefront of ‘New Wave cinema,’ a genre which dominated the British film industry for most of the early 60s.
'In the film, Finney wears his checked work-shirt like it had been woven from the very fabric of Raleigh and Radford,' remarks local historian Chris Richards.
'Covered in grease, and hair plastered with Brilliantine and factory sweat, his nicotine-stained fingers are never far away from the workbench or workmate’s wife!'
‘Saturday Night and Sunday Morning’ was superbly interpreted from Sillitoe’s script by Karel Reisz and spoke to a generation of post-war people of all classes in a manner never addressed before.
The cautionary tale sees Seaton’s initial rebelliousness diminished by several key events; including a relationship with a ‘well-to-do’ steady girlfriend, Doreen (Shirley Anne Field), an affair with a married woman leading to a terrifying back-street abortion, and subsequent punishment doled out by an aggrieved husband and his heavy-handed associates.
Ultimately, the young Raleigh worker looks beyond the limited horizons of his parent’s dark terraced streets and considers married life on a brand new council estate. Though the final scene to 'Saturday Night and Sunday Morning' appears to suggest that ‘the price of social mobility is submission and conformity’.