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Ralph Fiennes to direct biopic of Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev

Nureyev at The American Ballet Theatre School, 1962 (Image by: Getty Images)
Nureyev at The American Ballet Theatre School, 1962 (Image by: Getty Images)

Actor Ralph Fiennes is returning to the director’s chair, this time for a biopic of Rudolf Nureyev, the iconic Russian dancer who was instrumental in bridging the gap between modern dance and classical ballet.

Born on a Trans-Siberian train, Nureyev led a colorful life that touched on much of the political, social, and artistic upheaval of the 20th century. From his defection to the West to his volatile 25-year relationship with Danish dance virtuoso Erik Bruhn to his triumphant second career as the director of the Paris Opera Ballet, where he continued to work despite the onset of AIDS, from which he died in 1993, Nureyev’s life provides no shortage of material.

At this point, details are scarce, aside from the fact Fiennes’ film will be based on Julie Kavanagh’s biography Nureyev: The Life. Unlike in his previous directorial efforts, Coriolanus and The Invisible Woman, Fiennes won’t be playing a lead role. David Hare (The Hours, The Reader) is writing the script, with production set to begin in 2016.

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