Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 political satire film “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,” is being adapted as a stage production for London’s West End by “Veep” creator Armando Iannucci.
In the film, where Peter Sellers plays several roles, an insane American general orders a bombing attack on the Soviet Union, triggering a path to nuclear holocaust that a war room full of politicians and generals frantically tries to stop. It was released in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Iannucci is one of the U.K.’s foremost political satirists who scored an Oscar nomination for “In the Loop,” a BAFTA nomination for “The Death of Stalin” and a BAFTA win for “The Thick of It,” all considered amongst the best British political satires of all time. He will adapt “Dr. Strangelove” alongside Sean Foley, known for several West End productions including the Olivier nominated “The Ladykillers,” a stage adaptation of the 1955 comedy film, and “I Can’t Sing! The X Factor Musical.”
A West End theater venue for the “Dr. Strangelove” adaptation has not been revealed yet. The adaptation is with the permission of Kubrick’s estate, the first time the family has allowed one of the iconic filmmaker’s works to be adapted.
Iannucci has been allowed access to the Kubrick archive where he has found some discarded scenes and drafts that will make their way into the play, which will also be set in the 1960s.
Kubrick’s widow, Christiane, said: “We have always been reluctant to let anyone adapt any of Stanley’s work, and we never have. It was so important to him that it wasn’t changed from how he finished it. But we could not resist authorising this project: the time is right; the people doing it are fantastic; and ‘Strangelove’ should be brought to a new and younger audience. I am sure Stanley would have approved it too.”
“Not just with the war in Ukraine, but also the whole apocalyptic sense of global warming and so on – it feels like a very relevant reassertion of the message that, this is the madness staring at us if we don’t do anything about it. And currently, we aren’t doing anything about it. So the outcome is not good. But if you can leave the theater with that message and a smile, then all the better,” Iannucci told the BBC.
“Dr. Strangelove” will open in the West End in the fall of 2024.