November 14-15, 2018:
Tom Hiddleston posted a cryptic teaser video on his twitter page of him walking down a tunnel and staring painfully at the camera. At the end of the video - the word BETRAYAL is splayed across the screen. This ignited hysteria on social media with fans and websites trying to figure out what it could possibly mean... but we didn't have to wonder for long. The next day it was announced that Tom would be starring in Harold Pinter's Betrayal as a part of the Pinter at the Pinter celebration season. (50 Points to all the Ravenclaws who were able to guess correctly)
The announcement on November 15, 2018 came exactly 40 years to the day after the play first debuted in London. Betrayal charts a compelling seven-year romance, thrillingly captured in reverse chronological order. The play is actually inspired by Harold Pinter's own affair! Tsk Tsk! Tom will portray the character of Robert who discovers his wife's infidelities but has an interesting reaction to it (No spoilers!). About the play, Tom said: Betrayal is a masterpiece. Jamie Lloyd's Pinter at the Pinter season is terrific and I am so pleased that he's asked me to be part of it." The performances will begin on March 5, 2019 and conclude June 1, 2019. Act fast if you wish to buy tickets because most of the premium seats are already sold out! The tickets for Betrayal didn't go on public sale until November 30, 2018 and that one day was enough to make it WhatsOnStage's highest selling show!
The play will be directed by Jamie Lloyd who has spearheaded the entire Pinter At The Pinter season with a series of plays to mark the 10th anniversary of Harold Pinter's death and the renaming of the Harold Pinter Theatre. Jamie Lloyd also directed the Happy Birthday, Harold Charity Gala which raised money for Amnesty International and Chance to Shine.
On January 10, 2019, it was announced that Zawe Ashton and Charlie Cox will also star in the play. Zawe Ashton will play Emma, Robert's (Tom Hiddleston) wife. Charlie Cox will play Jerry, who is Robert's best friend. The play focuses on the affair between Emma and Jerry. Those who attended the Happy Birthday, Harold Gala in October had a sneak peak of the upcoming play when Tom and Zawe performed a scene from Betrayal together.
Tom and Charlie previously met at during the ATP World Finals in 2010 and will both be at ACE Comic Con in Arizona this weekend. Perhaps they will reveal more about the play then?
The trailer for Betrayal (along with the teaser Tom posted) was directed by Christopher McGill and produced by Dusthouse.
Mr. McGill, the director, was generous enough to speak with me and answer some of the most asked fan questions. We spoke about how the project came together, writing a song for Tom Hiddleston, the incredible reaction, and most importantly - how can we see more?!?!
Hiddlesfashion: I love the ethos of your company - to create marketing geared towards newer, younger audiences. It falls very much in line with Tom Hiddleston's own mission to make theatre accessible to more diverse crowds. How and when were you approached about the Betrayal project?
Christopher McGill: Dusthouse was first established to generate excitement for the world of theatre and the performing arts using contemporary marketing more familiar to movies, television and musicians/artists. The director of Betrayal, Jamie Lloyd and Dusthouse founder (myself) Christopher McGill have been looking for the right project to work on for years now. This seemed like a perfect fit. Jamie is incredibly dynamic in his work, fearless in his staging and will always shock and scare an audience with his unique storytelling. This is very much how Dusthouse works. We like to strike from left-field and surprise people. Keep folks on their toes and looking over their shoulder. Theatre can be the most thrilling of art forms, it can offer people a truly unique, once in a lifetime experience. You can't rewind a scene and view it on repeat. If you could you'd find a different version of the same scene each time and every time. That's incredible. However, too many youngsters feel the theatre isn't for them. We dare them to try. But pick the right show!
HF: From some of the social media posts I've read from you and your team at Dusthouse it seems like the shoot was put together very quickly. Who came up with the treatment plan? It's very powerful in its simplicity.
CM: ...Without revealing too much we had very little time to pull off what was a large scale production here. 20 crew were used to create the work. We shot on Monday, edited that night, had our first cut on Tuesday morning, tweaks made on Tuesday evening, score written on Wednesday morning and live on Wednesday evening. After 1 million views in 24 hours we had a beer. This isn't the usual turnaround required for our projects but as this was a reasonably simple concept and didn't require huge post production it was simple enough. It's also worth commenting how utterly helpful our clients at Joe Public and Jamie Lloyd Productions were at giving us their feedback so swiftly. They were a joy to collaborate with. When it came to the treatment myself and Jamie bashed around ideas over the phone and then played on the day. It was vital that everyone on the shoot came with a positive and playful spirit. In the end the most simplistic shot won (though there are a few other cuts that may be released....?!) and when you have a performance that strong there wasn't really much else we needed to do.
HF: We have had a lot of questions about the music in the trailer that Dusthouse created with Lophonics. Was that something you created ahead of time based on the play or something that was created in edited based specifically on Tom's performance in the shoot?
CM: Now here's a thing. We tried so many different tracks ranging from classical to very contemporary jazz. They all offered something beautiful but we felt that we could get something more unique and original if we picked up our instruments. Dusthouse is very lucky to collaborate with Lophonics on pretty much all of our films. This outfit, in truth, is a two piece operation of 'best pals since school' Spesh Maloney and myself, Christopher. We've played together in many bands over the years and still like to write scores for films. Therefore this is an original piece written specifically for the trailer. It weaves in and out of the sound design and captures, we hope, something quite special. If there's enough of a yell then we'll develop the track into something a little longer and release it - we have this beautiful bass line which comes in but it doesn't feature in the film... Just shout loud enough and we'll get into the studio.
HF: The location, Leake Street Tunnel, itself seems very symbolic with the contrast between Tom in a very fine suit (the same suit that he wore for the Pinter Gala) against a background of this graffiti strewn tunnel. How was the location selected and what was the significance of that location for you?
CM: Jamie was very keen to get that location secured. It was a beautiful and perfect spot in the heart of London. It looks a little harsh and gritty on film but you go there and find some incredible businesses, inspirational artists and a great games bar.
HF: 24 Hours prior to the Betrayal show being announced, Tom Hiddleston posted a teaser on his social media with no explanation or caption. Which of course started a frenzy online. What was your reaction to the fan reaction?
CM: Bonkers. It was bonkers. I guess that's what happens when Hollywood invades the stage door.
HF: Without needing to be too specific, can we expect any more videos or images from this collaboration to be released?
CM: Wouldn't that be great. I guess you'd better put that question to the good people of Jamie Lloyd Productions. Wouldn't it make a great film!?
HF: I promise that we will be lobbying hard to make that happen!
HF: Finally, I read on your website that Dusthouse was founded in 2008. Congratulations on 10 Years!
CM: Thank you so much! It's flown by and we've had the opportunity to work with so many great people. This was certainly a highlight. What should come next? I'll tell you what, we're making a short film in January starring Sinéad Keenan, Faye McKeever and Jonathan Slinger. That's going to mess with your brain.
Dusty Loves Ya. xxx
Photographer Charlie Budd took some behind the scenes photos and described the day of filming on his blog: He (Tom Hiddleston) has a very firm handshake and looks into your eyes and straight through your brain and back out the back of your head in a very piercing but friendly and professional way... He's also very, very good. He was totally involved in reviewing the footage, taking on board what Chris and the play's director said, and suggested variations. As you'll see in the final, simple video, he just walks towards the camera, and then starts to cry. He did this several times - no special effects, no squirting or poking him in the eye or anything, he just did it. I was a bit flabbergasted. You can see more of his photos on the Dusthouse Facebook page.
Charlie Gray took some additional promotional shots.
Some key websites to follow for updates on Betrayal: