The new trailer for The Seagull, a big-screen adaptation of Anton Chekov’s famous play, actually has me intrigued.
Here’s the official synopsis: “An aging actress named Irina Arkadina (Annette Bening) pays summer visits to her brother Pjotr Nikolayevich Sorin (Brian Dennehy) and her son Konstantin (Billy Howle) on a country estate. On one occasion, she brings Boris Trigorin (Corey Stoll), a successful novelist, with her. Nina (Saoirse Ronan), a free and innocent girl on a neighboring estate, falls in love with Trigorin. As Trigorin lightly consumes and rejects Nina, so the actress all her life has consumed and rejected her son, who loves Nina. The victims are destroyed while the sophisticates continue on their way.”
The cast is pretty outstanding. Ronan follows up her Lady Bird success with this period piece, while Bening, Stoll and Dennehy are also so good. The Seagull also stars Elisabeth Moss and Mare Winningham. Newcomer Billy Howle is also starring with Ronan in the not-as-interesting looking On Chesil Beach.
Watch the trailer above!
This is what director Michael Mayer, who worked with American playwright Stephen Karam on the adaptation, has to say about the film (via Entertainment Weekly): “The play was trying to do something surprising and new: to show people behaving in naturalistic ways, to eschew histrionics and telegraphed emotions for something more nuanced. [It allowed] the actors to truly live inside the characters they were playing and to introduce the concept of subtext to world drama.”
Mayer continues, “An important critic at the time of the play’s premiere, Anatoly Koni, wrote to Chekhov saying: ‘It is life itself onstage, with all its tragic alliances, eloquent thoughtlessness and silent sufferings.’ Chekhov didn’t live to see cinema emerge as an important global art form. He would never know how significant his contribution to writing and acting would be. I’d like to think that he would appreciate our film’s intention to capture forever, in Koni’s words, ‘the sort of everyday life that is accessible to everyone and understood in its cruel internal irony by almost no one.’”
I admit I’ve never seen or read a play from the famed Russian author, but it has always been my understanding they’ve included deep thoughts, heavy themes and everything done in subtext. Not necessarily cinematic, so I’m glad Mayer has taken liberties with the material and delivered something a bit more comedic in tone, even if hearts are breaking all over the place.
The Seagull flies into theaters May 11.