Roadkill Writer David Hare Pens Play That Examines Catching COVID-19

Sir David Hare, the writer of the BBC and PBS' upcoming political thriller Roadkill starring Hugh Laurie, has written a one-man stage play, "Beat the Devil", about catching COVID-19 and recovering from it. Talk about "writing what you know." Hare is certainly writing from personal experience. He said he caught it from Roadkill director Michael Keillor when the two of them sat together during the editing of the miniseries before the lockdown was declared in the U.K.

Hugh Laurie Plays Corrupt Politician in Upcoming BBC Drama Roadkill
Hugh Laurie in "Roadkill", BBC

Roadkill: Politician Peter Laurence's (Hugh Laurie) private life is falling apart. Shamelessly untroubled by guilt or remorse, he seeks to further his own agenda whilst others plot to bring him down. Can he out-run his own secrets to win the ultimate prize?

Hare, one of the U.K.'s finest left-wing playwrights and screenwriters, had previously written The Worricker Trilogy (now on Amazon Prime in the US), a series of three 90-minute TV movies starring Bill Nighy as an old school spy tangling with a corrupt prime minister played by Ralph Fiennes, and Collateral (now on Netflix), a political thriller starring Carey Mulligan as a savvy cop investigating the murder of a Muslim man and uncovering a political conspiracy. The 4-part Roadkill was completed before lockdown but Hare and Keiller caught COVID-19 during postproduction.

David Hare,
Sir David Hare on the BBC

"I've written a monologue and it's purely about my own experience of the illness. I got the illness very, very early. And I got it — it's no secret — from the ['Roadkill'] director. I was in a cutting room with the director. He got it, then I got it. Michael Keillor got it, I got it." Hare said on Wednesday during a virtual press tour for Roadkill. "So I've written a monologue, which is going to be performed in a London theater when London theaters are allowed to reopen."

Hare said he cannot reveal yet who will play him in the play or in which London theater it will be staged at until the government allows theatres to reopen. He hopes this might be the end of August. He had previously written another one-man play, Via Dolorosa, back in 1998, about his journey through Israel and his take on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He performed that play on stage himself.

As reported by The Wrap, Hare made the disclosure on Wednesday during virtual PBS' press tour day where he and Hugh Laurie were promoting "Roadkill". A reporter asked Hare if he found the coronavirus pandemic to be "fertile for drama," and how he might approach the subject. Hare, in typical British understatement, called the coronavirus a "quite extraordinary disease."

"I don't think anyone who has not had it can quite understand how extraordinarily unpredictable it is — not just on a daily, but almost an hourly basis," Hare said. Roadkill premieres on  Nov. 1st on PBS.

About Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist who just likes to writer. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.

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