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Sean Mathias

Sean Mathias

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Also Known As: Sean Gerard Mathias Died:
Born: March 14, 1956 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: United Kingdom Profession: playwright, director, screenwriter, actor, author

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

An accomplished playwright and director, Sean Mathias made an assured feature directorial debut with "Bent" (1997), adapted from Martin Sherman's 1979 play about the plight of homosexuals interred in concentration camps. Mathias imposed a highly theatrical and stylized look that cut to the heart of Sherman's work. He also elicited fine performances from leading actors Clive Owen and Lothaire Bluteau and effective cameos from veterans Mick Jagger and Ian McKellen and rising stars like Jude Law and Rupert Graves.The Welsh-born Mathias began his showbiz career as an actor in the late 1970s in fringe productions. He made his film debut in a small role in Richard Attenborough's overblown WWII would-be epic "A Bridge Too Far" (1977) and went on to appear in small roles in "Priest of Love" (1981), the TV-movie "The Scarlet Pimpernel" (CBS, 1982) and "White Mischief" (1988).By the early 80s, Mathias had also begun to make inroads as playwright. His first drama, "Cowardice," premiered in the West End starring Janet Suzman and Ian McKellen. Several of his other efforts, notably "Infidelities" and "A Prayer for Wings," premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival before moving to commercial runs. He also adapted...

An accomplished playwright and director, Sean Mathias made an assured feature directorial debut with "Bent" (1997), adapted from Martin Sherman's 1979 play about the plight of homosexuals interred in concentration camps. Mathias imposed a highly theatrical and stylized look that cut to the heart of Sherman's work. He also elicited fine performances from leading actors Clive Owen and Lothaire Bluteau and effective cameos from veterans Mick Jagger and Ian McKellen and rising stars like Jude Law and Rupert Graves.

The Welsh-born Mathias began his showbiz career as an actor in the late 1970s in fringe productions. He made his film debut in a small role in Richard Attenborough's overblown WWII would-be epic "A Bridge Too Far" (1977) and went on to appear in small roles in "Priest of Love" (1981), the TV-movie "The Scarlet Pimpernel" (CBS, 1982) and "White Mischief" (1988).

By the early 80s, Mathias had also begun to make inroads as playwright. His first drama, "Cowardice," premiered in the West End starring Janet Suzman and Ian McKellen. Several of his other efforts, notably "Infidelities" and "A Prayer for Wings," premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival before moving to commercial runs. He also adapted David Levitt's novel "The Lost Language of Cranes" (1992) for British television. Mathias added director to his list of credits beginning with "Exceptions" (1988). He staged an acclaimed revival of "Bent" in 1989 as a benefit, co-starring McKellen, Richard E Grant, Ian Charleson and Ralph Fiennes. Based on the critical and audience reaction, the play was revived the following year again with McKellen who was joined by Paul Rhys and Christopher Eccleston, among others. Mathias has since directed highly-praised productions of "Uncle Vanya" (1991), "Design for Living" (1994), "Les Parents Terribles" (also 1994 and on Broadway in 1996 under the title "Indiscretions") and "A Little Night Music" (1995).

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Bent (1997) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 White Mischief (1988) Gerald Portman
2.
 Scarlet Pimpernel (1982) Dispatcher
3.
 Priest of Love (1981) Film Star'S Secretary
4.
 A Bridge Too Far (1977) Irish Guards Lieutenant
5.
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Milestones close milestones

1977:
Film acting debut, small role in "A Bridge Too Far"
1978:
Began career as an actor, appearing in fringe productions in Edinburgh
1982:
Acted in the CBS TV-movie "The Scarlet Pimpernel"
1982:
Produced "Ian McKellen in Acting Shakespeare" which toured the world and was filmed and aired in the USA on PBS
1983:
Wrote the play "Cowardice"; produced in the West End starring Janet Suzman and Ian McKellen
1985:
His play "Infidelities" was first produced at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and then transfered to the Donmar Wharehouse
1987:
Joan Plowright directed Mathias' play "A Prayer for Wings"; first produced at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival before transferring to a London theater
1988:
Appeared in the film "White Mischief"
1990:
Staged acclaimed revival of Martin Sherman's play "Bent"
1991:
Directed well-received stage production of "Uncle Vanya"
1992:
Wrote the teleplay for the BBC production "The Lost Language of Cranes" (shown in USA on PBS)
1994:
Directed West End productions of "Les Parents Terribles" and "Design for Living"
1995:
Staged an acclaimed revival of the Stephen Sondheim-Hugh Wheeler musical "A Little Night Music", co-starring Sian Phillips and Judi Dench
1996:
Broadway debut as director, "Indiscretions", the retitled version of "Les Parents Terribles"; earned Tony nomination as Best Director
1997:
Directed the stage play "Marlene", starring Sian Phillips as Marlene Dietrich
1997:
Film directing debut, "Bent"
1998:
Directed Alan Rickman and Helen Mirren in Shakespeare's "Antony and Cleopatra"
1999:
Staged the Broadway production of "Marlene", starring Sian Phillips
2001:
Directed the Off-Broadway play "Servicemen"
2001:
Helmed the revival of Strindberg's "Dance of Death", starring Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren
2002:
Was director of the Broadway revival of "The Elephant Man", starring Billy Crudup
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Notes

On directing "Bent" for both the stage and film: "In my stage production, I think there were certain things that I got right, but there were things that I did not examine. [With the film] I feel I had more ability to mine the subtext. I wanted to focus on the love element of the text and so I haven't directed the film as a political or historical piece but from an emotional and spiritual point of view. It is a reflection of the development of my own work that my perception of the piece is different now." (quoted in the official program for the 1997 Moscow International Film Festival)

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Ian McKellen. Actor. Together from c. 1981 until c. 1990.

Family close complete family listing

father:
John Frederick Mathias. Welsh; deceased.
mother:
Anne Josephine Mathias. Irish.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Manhattan Mourning" Brilliance Books

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