Dominic Cooper will return to the London stage this September to star in Stephen Jeffreys’ hedonistic drama The Libertine at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.
Olivier and Tony Award winner Terry Johnson will direct the British film star in the role of the Earl of Rochester, the debauched 17th century rake, charismatic poet and playwright with a legendary appetite for excess.
The true story, which Johnny Depp made famous when he led the 2004 film adaptation, sees the Earl forced to reconsider his untamed ways when a chance encounter with an actress at the Playhouse sends him reeling. With flair and wit, this wild romp through 1670s London offers an incisive critique of life in an age of excess.
Speaking to The Daily Mail’s Baz Bamigboye, Cooper commented on the appeal of playing the real-life lothario, explaining: “I like Wilmot’s outlook on life. He decided that the country had been through enough repression, so he was going to have a good time. He hit the bottle and was constantly rollicking around. As a consequence, he became ill very quickly. But I believe he enjoyed the sensation of trying everything.”
While Cooper has become a familiar face on screen with an impressive line-up of starring roles in Hollywood hits including The Duchess, An Education, My Week With Marilyn and Mamma Mia!, the London born actor began his career on stage appearing as part of the National Theatre’s iconic The History Boys line-up. His other theatre credits include Mother Clap’s Molly House and, most recently, 2009’s Phedre in which he starred opposite Helen Mirren.
The Libertine will premiere at the Bath Theatre Royal from 31 August before opening at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on 27 September (previews from 22 September) where it will play until 3 December.
Further casting is yet to be announced.