Director: Richard Laxton
Writer: William Ivory
Producer: Lachlan McKinnon
Executive Producer: Jessica Pope
Runtime: 1hr 22mins
Synopsis1983, Elizabeth Taylor invites her twice ex-husband Richard Burton to her fiftieth birthday party where, although he won’t get drunk with her or sleep with her, he does consider her proposal that they star in a new stage adaptation of Noël Coward’s play Private Lives.
Upon announcing the news to the press speculation mounts that the couple may be getting back together again. Elizabeth has hopes for this as well but Burton, although he still loves her, has moved on from their life together and has a new girlfriend, Sally. Burton’s also frail physically as a lifetime of hard drinking takes it toll on him. He is worried that he won’t be able to play the role of King Lear after this play because it will too demanding for him, Elizabeth assures him he’s just being silly.
When the play opens it becomes clear to both of them that the audience are just there to see Burton/Taylor and it’s almost as if the play becomes about their life together. As the couple argue off stage Elizabeth takes it out on Burton on stage, physically hitting him and playing up to audience, talking directly to them on several occasions and acknowledges their cheers mid performance.
After touring for several months the play ends and Elizabeth confesses to Richard that she still loves him. He tells her he still loves her but can’t be with her anymore. He dies the following year of a brain haemorrhage.
CastDominic West…as Richard Burton
Helena Bonham Carter…as Elizabeth Taylor
William Hope…as John
Michael Jibson…as Mike
Lucille Sharp…as Liza Todd Burton
Isabella Brazier-Jones…as Maria Burton
2013: Satellite Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film