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Is Mark Rylance going to star in a tenth-anniversary revival of ‘Jerusalem’?

Andrzej Lukowski

Playwright Jez Butterworth is riding high in the West End again with his new, Paddy Considine-starring play ‘The Ferryman’.

It is undoubtedly a masterpiece and surely the best play of the year (read our five-star review here), but when I interviewed Butterworth for next week’s Time Out, I couldn’t help but ask about the prospects of a return for his last West End hit, the extraordinary ‘Jerusalem’, and its star Mark Rylance, whose career went supernova in its wake. Widely regarded as the best British play of modern times, it had a season at the Royal Court and two in the West End. By the end of its final run, people were camping out for two days to secure day tickets. There have been no new British productions since – so might the original one come back?

The short answer is: dunno.

The longer answer is: Butterworth looked very mischievous when the question was asked, seemed massively up for it and raised the prospect of a tenth-anniversary revival in 2019.

Here’s what he said: 
Is ‘Jerusalem’ ever coming back? Will Mark Rylance be in it?
[Very mischievous grin] ‘I’d love Mark to do it again. We talked about it recently… you know we’re coming up soon on the tenth anniversary, aren’t we? Eighteen months.’ 
It doesn’t matter that he’s older now? 
‘I think he’d be perfect for that role for at least another 170 years. I would absolutely, unequivocally adore it if he wanted to do it again. I’m sure it would be as exciting as it was the first time, in many ways more exciting.’ 
It could just be idle talk, but here’s why I’m choosing to take it seriously: 
1. Jez Butterworth is clearly really up for it, provided Mark Rylance is too.
2. It sounds like they’ve had a meeting about it that went well.
3. It was Butterworth who raised the fairly specific idea of a tenth-anniversary revival in our interview.
4. Mark Rylance is a film star now and if he was going to give up a huge chunk of 2019 to star in ‘Jerusalem’, it would surely be something he’d be locking down now, at the latest.
5. I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really want it to happen. 
Read our full Jez Butterworth interview in next Tuesday’s Time Out.
‘The Ferryman’ is booking at the Gielgud Theatre until January 6 2018. Buy tickets here.

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