As a quick-witted and engaging film actress, Amanda Peet earned accolades and lots of laughs for her roles in films like The Whole Nine Yards, Igby Goes Down, Something's Gotta Give and The Way Way Back. However, she has recently switched gears and Manhattan Theatre Club's off-Broadway production of The Commons of Pensacola marks Peet's first professional stab at playwriting. Tony winner Blythe Danner and Emmy winner Sarah Jessica Parker star as mother and daughter in the world premiere drama.
According to an article in The New York Times, Peet decided to "rekindle an early passion for writing" when she started being offered "girlfriends, wives, ex-wives" roles in Hollywood. Peet consulted her friend and playwright Neil LaBute and husband David Beniof (creator of HBO's Game of Thrones) and turned her attention to penning "a full-length play to star in." So, how did SJP end up in the role of Becca instead of Peet? "I have a fairly realistic idea about what my gifts and limitations are," she told The Times. "[I]f it comes down to Sarah Jessica Parker vs. Amanda Peet? Come on. I’m no dummy. I thought she would probably succeed in the role more fully than I would."
Peet also revealed that she feared getting "immersed and lost" if she had to juggle performing in the play and making the necessary script changes that inevitably occur during the rehearsal and preview stages. "I also felt it’d be better...for the play, to try to concentrate on one thing," she said. The playwright was convinced Parker should be cast, admitting that she "began stalking" the Sex and the City star by "sending notes and emails." Luckily, Parker wanted to return to theater and reunite with Danner.
The Commons of Pensacola, which also stars Michael Stahl-David, Zoe Levin (Peet's co-star in The Way Way Back), Ali Marsh and Nilaja Sun, opens November 21 at New York City Center — Stage I. Click the video below to find out more about why this drama is not to be missed!