Last night, Ivo van Hove’s Broadway play Network held a post-show talk with its main actors Bryan Cranston, Tony Goldwyn and Tatiana Maslany. “Network,” directed by Tony and Olivier Award winner Ivo Van Hove, known from “The Damned,” is based on the award-winning film by Paddy Chayefsky, which won four Academy Awards in 1976. The adaptation was done by Lee Hall and centres around Howard Beale, a news anchor-man who isn’t pulling in the viewers. In his final broadcast, Beale unravels live on screen. But when ratings soar, the network seizes on their newfound populist prophet, and Howard becomes the biggest thing on TV.
When Ivo van Hove initially approached Cranston to star in Network, the legendary actor was not available due to filming commitments and had to turn the role down. Van Hove was coincidentally offered to direct an opera in Amsterdam right after. This delayed the Network production for over a year, which meant Cranston was available again to play the leading role. Network premiered in London and moved to Broadway in 2018. Cranston contacted his old friend Tony Goldwyn to play Max Schumacher, the president of the network’s news department. Van Hove added Tatiana Maslany to the cast, who made her Broadway debut as Diana Christensen, head of network programming.
Even though the film premiered in 1976, its criticism on media and their focus on emotion instead of facts is more relevant than ever. Maslany commented that Network’s explanation of commercializing anger is still applicable 43 years later. Cranston added that Chayefsky accurately predicted people’s obsessions with screens before there even were mobile phones and tablets.
Director Ivo van Hove began his career in 1981 and has been director of Toneelgroep Amsterdam since 2001. He has also been director of Het Zuidelijk Toneel. From 1998 to 2004, he managed the Holland Festival, annually presenting his selection of international theatre, music, opera and dance. Until 2010 he was one of the artistic leaders of the Dramatic Arts department in Antwerp. Ivo van Hove’s production work in theatre includes “Hedda Gabler” at the National Theatre; “A View from the Bridge at Young Vic,” West End and Broadway; “The Crucible” on Broadway; “Lazarus” in New York and London; and Visconti’s “The Damned” at La Comédie-Française. Ivo van Hove has been recognized for his work with several awards, including two Olivier awards and two Tony awards for “A View from the Bridge;” an Amsterdam Oeuvre Award; two Obie Awards for “More Stately Mansions” and “Hedda Gabler;” the Archangel Award at the Edinburgh Festival; the Critics’ Circle Award; a Molière Award for best production in France; and a Dutch Oeuvre Award, together with Jan Versweyveld. He has also received an honorary doctorate for general merit from the University of Antwerp and the Flemish Culture Prize for Overall Cultural Merit from the Flemish Government. Ivo van Hove is Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France and King Filip of Belgium awarded him Commander of the Order of the Crown.
Bryan Cranston (Howard Beale) made his debut in “Network” in 2017 at London’s National Theatre. A performance that garnered him the 2018 Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Play. In 2014 he made his Broadway debut as President Lyndon B Johnson in “All the Way” at the Neil Simon Theatre, for which he received a Tony Award, as well as a Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Theater World Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play. Cranston’s work in television includes: “Breaking Bad” (Emmy, SAG, Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice, PGA Awards and DGA nomination), “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (2018 Emmy nomination), “All the Way” (SAG Award and Golden Globe, Emmy and Critics’ Choice nominations), “Malcolm in the Middle” (Emmy and Golden Globe nominations), among many others.