Belfast Telegraph

Michelle Dockery joins Bryan Cranston in the National Theatre’s Network

She’s swapping Downton Abbey for the stage to star alongside the Breaking Bad actor.

Downton Abbey star Michelle Dockery has said she is “thrilled” to be starring alongside Bryan Cranston in the National Theatre’s new production of Network.

Dockery, who is best known for her role as Lady Mary Crawley in the hit period drama, will take on the role of Diana Christensen in the play, adapted from the 1976 Oscar-winning film of the same name by playwright and screenwriter Lee Hall.

The play will be directed by Belgian theatre director Ivo van Hove and sees Breaking Bad star Cranston in the role of Howard Beale.

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Michelle Dockery ( Ian West/PA)

Dockery said: “It’s a wonderful feeling to be going back to the National after eight years.”

Dockery made her National debut in 2004 in His Dark Materials, and in 2010 she was nominated for an Olivier Award for her role in Burnt By The Sun, her last stint at the theatre.

“To be working with Bryan Cranston and Ivo van Hove on an adaptation of this brilliant film is a rare and exhilarating opportunity, I am thrilled,” she said.

Network tells the tale of news anchor Howard Beale and his struggle to pull in the viewers.

But when his last ever broadcast is revealed to be a ratings success he becomes an unlikely TV sensation with hilarious and dramatic consequences.

The film won a total of four Oscars, including a best actress award for Faye Dunaway, who played Diana, and a best actor gong for Peter Finch, who played Howard.

The film’s writer Paddy Chayefsky won the best original screenplay Oscar.

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Bryan Cranston (Ian West/PA)

Billy Elliot writer Hall is joining Olivier Award winner van Hove, who directed 2015’s A View From the Bridge in London, for this first-ever stage production of the movie.

Network runs at the National’s Lyttelton Theatre from November 13 until March 24 2018, with previews from November 4.

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