Everyone wants to work with Tony-winning director George C. Wolfe—and they have good reason. The veteran director's acclaimed work includes Angels in America and The Normal Heart, and now he's back at the helm again with Nora Ephron’s final play Lucky Guy, starring Tom Hanks in his Broadway debut.
In an interview with the New York Times, Wolfe described how he felt when he read an early draft of the show. “The thing that I instantly fell in love with was the time period in New York, you know? 1985. That was my time in New York, and I have such poetic, fond memories,” recalled Wolfe.
In January 2012, A-lister Hanks led a workshop reading of Lucky Guy playing the show’s titular fortunate fella, famed tabloid journalist Mike McAlary. “There’s a kind of fearlessness about how [actors] approach the work, and he has that level of fearlessness,” said Wolfe of his “very courageous” star.
As for the show’s main subject—the polarizing McAlary—Wolfe acknowledges that he’s had “27 people who have 27 different opinions” about the divisive personality. “Different people have stopped me on the street and said, ‘McAlary was a blah blah blah,” and other people go, ‘McAlary was an angel and a saint,’” explained Wolfe. “It’s one of the brilliant constructs of the play. Story versus fact. And it’s one of the things which, depending on your vantage point, defines how you tell the story.”
Perhaps saddest in Wolfe’s interview, however, is his memory of his first meeting with Ephron, who passed away in 2012 from a case of pneumonia brought on by acute myeloid leukemia. After agreeing to work together on Lucky Guy, “I remember somebody came up and said, ‘Is it all right if I take your picture?’” recounted Wolfe. “So we stood and we took a picture together, and she said to me, ‘This is the first of many pictures we’re going to take together.’ And it ended up that was the only picture we took together.’”
Lucky Guy opens at the Broadhurst Theatre on April 1.