Stage Beauty (2004) Movie

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Ratings / Votes
7.1/ 10 (7058 Votes)

MPAA Ratings
Rated R for sexual content and language

Production Company
BBC Films [gb] - (in association with)
Lions Gate Films [us] - (presents)
N1 European Film Produktions GmbH & Co. KG [de] - (in association with)
Qwerty Films [gb]
Tribeca Productions [us]

Production Designer

All Producers

All Directors


Release Date
(USA) - 8 May 2004
(Ireland) - 3 September 2004
(UK) - 3 September 2004
(France) - 5 September 2004
(Canada) - 15 September 2004

Running Time

She was the first of her kind. He was the last of his.

1660s, 17th-century, acting, actor, actress, ambition, applause, backstage, bare-breasts, bare-butt, bare-chested-male, based-on-play, battle-of-the-sexes, beating, bisexual, black-eye, bootblack, british-navy, british-sailor, bully, cane, castrati, charles-ii, cleric, coin,

Technical Support
CAM:Panavision Cameras and Lenses
OFM:35 mm
PCS:Super 35
PFM:35 mm - (anamorphic)
RAT:2.35 : 1

Related Pictures

Pictures of Stage Beauty (2004) Movie not found

Full Cast

  1. Barber, Nick (I) as [Nick] <12>
  2. Bennett, Greg (XIII) as (uncredited) [Courtier]
  3. Bonneville, Hugh as [Samuel Pepys] <7>
  4. Chaplin, Ben as [George Villiers II - Duke of Buckingham] <6>
  5. Crudup, Billy as [Ned Kynaston] <4>
  6. Decio, David as (uncredited) [Sir Peter Lelys Painter Pupil]
  7. Dodd, James (II) as (uncredited) [Maria's Dresser]
  8. Donn, Ray as (uncredited) [Thug]
  9. Dunn, Robin (III) as [Butler] <18>
  10. Everett, Rupert as [King Charles II] <16>
  11. Fox, Edward (I) as [Sir Edward Hyde] <17>
  12. George, Sean Francis as (uncredited) [Cassio]
  13. Griffiths, Richard (I) as [Sir Charles Sedley] <14>
  14. Gunn, Joe (I) as (uncredited) [Chimney Sweeper]
  15. Hollander, Tom as [Sir Peter Lely] <23>
  16. Hutchinson, Derek as [Stage Manager] <1>
  17. Kempton, Jack as [Call Boy] <8>
  18. Letheren, Mark as [Male Emilia/Dickie] <2>
  19. Marcus, Stephen as [Thomas Cockerell] <13>
  20. Merchant, Andy (I) as [1st Thug] <20>
  21. Street, John (VI) as [2nd Thug] <21>
  22. Tannen, John as [3rd Thug] <22>
  23. Westhead, David as [Harry] <11>
  24. Wilkinson, Tom (I) as [Thomas Betterton] <5>
  25. Calthorpe, Isabella as [Lady Jane Bellamy] <19>
  26. Chandler, Nancy (II) as (uncredited) [Angelina Hooker]
  27. Danes, Claire as [Maria Hughes] <3>
  28. Eve, Alice as [Miss Frayne] <9>
  29. Fitch, Joyia as (uncredited) [Female Bianca]
  30. Gulliford, Hermione as [Mrs. Barry] <24>
  31. Hallam, Natalie as (uncredited) [Auditioning Actress]
  32. Higgins, Clare (I) as [Mistress Revels] <25>
  33. Tapper, Zoë as [Nell Gwynn] <15>
  34. Woolgar, Fenella as [Lady Meresvale] <10>
  35. Worrall, Madeleine as [Female Emilia] <26>


  1. Drama

Full Plot

Based in the 1660's of London's theaters, this film is about the rules of gender roles in theatre production, and means to change them for everyone's benefit. Ned Kynaston is the assumedly gay cross-dressing actor who has been playing female parts in plays for years, particularly Desdemona in Othello, he also has a close relationship with a member of the Royal Court, the Duke of Buckingham. One day however, the rules of only men playing women could change when aspiring actress Maria auditions as Kynaston's praised role, Desdemona, and soon enough, King Charles II decides to make the law that all female roles should be played only by women. Maria becomes a star, while Ned finds himself out of work. But after a while, Ned finds it in his nature to forgive Maria's aspiration, they may even fall in love, and Charles may proclaim women will be played by either gender. Jackson Booth-Millard In Stuart Restoration king Charles II's reign, gay actor Ned Kynaston, a specialist in female parts, enjoys the favor of the public on stage and royal favorite George Villiars, Duke of Buckingham, in bed. But his dresser, Maria, secretly learned acting by observing him and started performing (illegally) in a tavern. When the king's awfully common mistress, a former saleswoman, sides with Maria, the prohibition on actresses is lifted, later even reversed. Still Maria realizes she's artistically far inferior to Ned, and takes him in after bigot 'gentry' roughed him up badly.. KGF Vissers Plot not found

Total Business

CP: N1 European Film Produktions GmbH & Co KG GR: USD 776,691 (USA) (28 November 2004) GR: USD 758,488 (USA) (21 November 2004) GR: USD 723,729 (USA) (14 November 2004) GR: USD 643,700 (USA) (7 November 2004) GR: USD 510,688 (USA) (31 October 2004) GR: USD 340,807 (USA) (24 October 2004) GR: USD 149,996 (USA) (17 October 2004) GR: USD 38,654 (USA) (10 October 2004) GR: GBP 128,035 (UK) (5 September 2004) OW: USD 38,654 (USA) (10 October 2004) (3 screens) OW: GBP 128,035 (UK) (5 September 2004) (177 screens) SD: 27 June 2003 - WG: USD 7,239 (USA) (28 November 2004) (22 screens) WG: USD 15,719 (USA) (21 November 2004) (29 screens) WG: USD 35,593 (USA) (14 November 2004) (53 screens) WG: USD 88,756 (USA) (7 November 2004) (78 screens) WG: USD 110,474 (USA) (31 October 2004) (70 screens) WG: USD 159,096 (USA) (24 October 2004) (59 screens) WG: USD 89,267 (USA) (17 October 2004) (21 screens) WG: USD 38,654 (USA) (10 October 2004) (3 screens) WG: GBP 128,035 (UK) (5 September 2004) (177 screens)

Movie Certificate

16 (Brazil)
M (Australia)
16 (Argentina)
12 (Iceland)
12 (Germany)
18 (South Korea)
AL (Netherlands)
M18 (Singapore)
13 (Spain)
15 (UK)
14A (Canada)(Ontario)

Music Composers

  1. Fenton, George


  1. Dunn, Andrew (I) (director of photography)

Dress Designers

  1. Hatley, Tim


A-Film Distribution [nl] - (2004) (Netherlands) (theatrical)
A-Film Home Entertainment [nl] - (2005) (Netherlands) (DVD)
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) [gb] - (2004) (UK) (TV) (BBC2)
Califórnia Home Vídeo [br] - (2006) (Brazil) (DVD)
Califórnia Home Vídeo [br] - (2006) (Brazil) (VHS)
Divisa Home Video [es] - (2012) (Spain) (DVD)
Filmax S.A. [es] - (2005) (Spain) (theatrical)
Haut et Court [fr] - (2005) (France) (theatrical)
Lions Gate Films Home Entertainment [ca] - (2005) (Canada) (DVD)
Lions Gate Films Home Entertainment [us] - (2005) (USA) (DVD)
Lions Gate Films [us] - (2004) (USA) (theatrical)
Mikado [it] - (2005) (Italy) (theatrical)
Momentum Pictures [gb] - (2004) (UK) (theatrical)
RTL Entertainment [nl] - (2010) (Netherlands) (TV) (RTL8)
Senator Home Entertainment [de] - (2007) (Germany) (DVD)
Shaw Organisation [sg] - (2005) (Singapore) (theatrical)
Universum Film (UFA) [de] - (2007) (Germany) (DVD)

Film Editors

  1. Anwar, Tariq


  1. Arlango, Alexandra (assistant: Michael Kuhn)
  2. Atlee, Geraldine (representative: Qwerty Films)
  3. Ball, Philip (I) (utility stand-in)
  4. Barnes, Michael (VI) (financial legal services)
  5. Brunswick, Alan M. (legal counsel: US, Manatt Phelps & Phillips) (as Alan Brunswick)
  6. Burke, Kofi (production accountant: Qwerty Films)
  7. Butler, Richards (legal services)
  8. Craig, Kathryn (II) (head of legal and business affairs: Qwerty Films)
  9. Cullum, Chris (health and safety officer)
  10. Curtis, Matt (II) (title designer)
  11. Dent, Steve (I) (carriages)
  12. Doran, Thomas (IV) (stand-in: Mr. Crudup)
  13. Earner, Stephen (assistant production accountant)
  14. Ensby, John (laboratory contact)
  15. Gant, Kerrie (client liaison: Cine Image)
  16. Golov, Andrew (studio executive) (uncredited)
  17. Gower, Heidi (floor runner)
  18. Grace, Sally (II) (additional dialect coach)
  19. Hildebrand, Andrew (representative: Qwerty Films)
  20. Hodgson, Ruth (completion guarantor: Film Finances)
  21. Jayawardena, Joseph (location unit manager)
  22. Jones, Karen (II) (script supervisor)
  23. Kolovich, Kevin (accounting assistant)
  24. Koven, Lisa (legal counsel: US, Manatt Phelps & Phillips)
  25. Lawson, David (III) (programmer)
  26. Le Rasle, Gabby (assistant production coordinator)
  27. Lundberg, Claire (assistant: Mr. Justice)
  28. Mackmin, Scarlett (choreographer)
  29. McDonald, Charles (I) (unit publicist: McDonald & Rutter)
  30. Michaels, Tory (legal services)
  31. Miller, Liz (VI) (unit publicist: McDonald & Rutter)
  32. Milne, Sheila Fraser (completion guarantor: Film Finances)
  33. Morgan, Lew (location security)
  34. Nuttall, Sarah (representative: Qwerty Films)
  35. O'Shea, Kevin (IV) (insurance services: AON/Albert G. Ruben)
  36. Oxley-Mcleod, Caroline (unit nurse: Lake District)
  37. Philipps, Richard (legal services)
  38. Proschinger, Jurgen (finance manager: Qwerty Films)
  39. Quinn, Sue (I) (location manager)
  40. Sanderson, Simon (production runner)
  41. Sayer, Georgiana (stand-in: Ms. Danes)
  42. Schneider, Joan (production coordinator)
  43. Shirras, James (completion guarantor: Film Finances)
  44. Sousa, Sally Jo (animal coordinator) (uncredited)
  45. Sousa, Sally Jo (trainer: Spaniel) (as Sally Sousa)
  46. Thomas, Aurelia (assistant location manager)
  47. Twiddy, Dianne (production accountant)
  48. Washington, Joan (dialect coach)
  49. Woodcock, Colleen (representative: Qwerty Films)
  50. Woolley, Mark (III) (chief financial officer: Qwerty Films)
  51. Wright, Tonia (I) (assistant: Michael Dreyer and Richard Eyre)
  52. Ziehl, Cathy (studio coordinator) (uncredited)


Ned Kynaston: A woman playing a woman? Where's the trick in that? King Charles II: Why shouldn't we have women on stage? After all, the French have been doing it for years. Sir Edward Hyde: Whenever we're about to do something truly horrible, we always say that the French have been doing it for years. Ned Kynaston: A part doesn't belong to an actor; an actor belongs to a part. Maria: I am an actress, not a beauty. Ned Kynaston: Right, I'll need boot black. Sir Charles Sedley: I have boot black. Ned Kynaston: With you? Sir Charles Sedley: A scuff, sir, is a dreadful thing. Maria: What do you know of love, sir? Or loyalty? Or adoration suffered in deepest silence? The only love you know, sir, is what you act on stage. Ned Kynaston: [discussing Maria's first Othello show] Did you go round after? George Villiars, Duke of Buckingham: Oh, too crowded. Pepys went. If two mice were fucking in a nutshell, he'd find room to squeeze in and write it down. Sir Charles Sedley: Kynaston... It feels I've had the honour already. Ned Kynaston: Or you've already had the honour of feeling it. Sir Charles Sedley: Obviously I'm behind on my drinking. Maria: Mr Kynaston, I can explain everything. Ned Kynaston: Why, are you a philosopher? Samuel Pepys: Tell me about your parentage, Miss Gwynn. Nell Gwynn: My mum was a whore, my father was in the navy. Samuel Pepys: I see. Nell Gwynn: That's why I don't never do sailors. George Villiars, Duke of Buckingham: [When the king asks him whether he liked Othello] Yes. I never tire of Othello. Ned Kynaston: Truth be told, sir, he never tires of Desdemona. Sir Charles Sedley: So, Kynaston, will you see Mrs Hughes perform? Maria: Yes, I'd love to know what you think of the death scene. Ned Kynaston: Oh, I'm always interested in how my rivals die. Sir Charles Sedley: [to the Duke of Buckingham] Your Grace? George Villiars, Duke of Buckingham: Well, no. I've had my fill of Desdemonas. George Villiars, Duke of Buckingham: [later] I'm off as well. Kynaston... shall I drop you? Ned Kynaston: Yes, I need my sleep. Nell Gwynn: Charlie boy, where's his toy? Oh, your Majesty, let me see the crown! Samuel Pepys: Forgive me. I have spoken loudly. King Charles II: Balance the scales, Kynaston. Give the girls a chance. King Charles II: Kynaston? How in hell did you get in here? Ned Kynaston: A former fellow actor is your undercook and has long been dear a friend to me. King Charles II: Then we'll have to execute him. [Kynaston blanches] Sir Edward Hyde: [groans] Ohhhh. King Charles II: [sighs] A joke. A joke. Calm down, Kynaston. King Charles II: My astronomers tell me that a star's light shines on long after it has died, even though it doesn't know it. Ned Kynaston: I want to act. King Charles II: Then act. Ned Kynaston: I want to act as I did before. King Charles II: You mean the girls' parts. Ned Kynaston: If you will. King Charles II: I won't. King Charles II: Act a man, Kynaston. How hard can it be? Ned Kynaston: It is not a question of acting a man. I can act a man. There's no artistry in that. There are things that I can be as a woman that I cannot be as a man. King Charles II: Exile is a dreadful thing for one who knows his rightful place. Ned Kynaston: See what comes out of rehearsal? Female Emilia: What cry is that? Sweet mistress, speak. Who hath done this deed? Maria: Nobody. I myself. Farewell. Commend me to my kind lord. Farwell. [Dies] Ned Kynaston: Why? How should she be murdered? Mistress Revels: And give me back my merkin! Ned Kynaston: I'm not teaching you how to be a woman. I'm teaching you how to be Desdemona. Samuel Pepys: You know, Mr. K, the performance of yours I always liked best? As much as I adored your Desdemona and your Juliet, I've always loved best your 'britches' parts. Rosalind, for instance. And not just because of the woman stuff but also because of the man sections. Your performance of the man stuff seemed so right, so true. I suppose I felt it was the most real in the play. Ned Kynaston: You know why the man stuff seemed so real? Because I'm pretending. You see a man through the mirror of a woman through the mirror of a man. You take one of those reflecting glasses away it doesn't work. The man only works because you see him in contrast to the woman he is. If you saw him without the her he lives inside, he wouldn't seem a man at all. [pause] Samuel Pepys: Yes. You've obviously thought longer on this question than I. [last lines] Maria: So, who are you now? Ned Kynaston: I don't know. [smiles] I don't know. Maria: Your old tutor did you a great disservice, Mr. Kynaston. He taught you how to speak, and swoon, and toss your head but he never taught you how to suffer like a woman, or love like a woman. He trapped a man in a woman's form and left you there to die! I always hated you as Desdemona. You never fought! You just died, beautifully. No woman would die like that, no matter how much she loved him. A woman would fight! [singing] Ned Kynaston: Oh, mother, oh, mother, oh, what shall I do?/ I've married a man who's unable to screw!/ My troubles are many my pleasures are small/ For I've married a man who has no balls at all! Maria: Why won't you play men? Ned Kynaston: Men aren't beautiful. What they do isn't beautiful either. Women do everything beautifully, especially when they die. Men feel far too much. *Feeling* ruins the effect. Feeling makes it ugly. [Maria rolls her eyes] Perhaps that's why I could never pull off the death scene. I- could never feel it in a way that wouldn't mar the- [pause] I couldn't let the beauty die. Without beauty there's nothing. Who could love that? [Maria has just asked how men make love to men] Ned Kynaston: Right... In the saddle. [Ned is showing Maria different sexual positions; Ned is on his stomach underneath her] Maria: So, am I the man or the woman? Ned Kynaston: You're the man. Maria: And you're the woman. Ned Kynaston: Yes. Maria: Isn't much to do. Ned Kynaston: Not with what we're given. Ned Kynaston: A critic is born. Sir Charles Sedley: And all because I thought you were a whore and grabbed your cock. [Ned is showing Maria different sexual positions; Maria is now on her stomach underneath him] Maria: So, who am I now? Ned Kynaston: You're the man. [laughs] Uh, you're the woman. Maria: [giggles] And you're? Ned Kynaston: I'm the man, or so I assume. Seldom get up here, quite a view. Maria: But I'm the man-woman. Ned Kynaston: Yes, you're the man-woman. Nell Gwynn: A man isn't how he walks or how he speaks. It's what he does. Ned Kynaston: Do you know the Five Positions of Feminine Subjugation? Maria: What? Ned Kynaston: The Five Positions of Feminine Subjugation. No? Perhaps you're more acquainted with the Pose of Tragic Acceptance. Or the Demeanor of Awe and Terror. Maria: Mr. Kynaston. Ned Kynaston: How about the Supplicant's Clasp or the Attitude of Prostrate Grief? Maria: Mr. Kynaston. Ned Kynaston: Funny, you've seen be perform them a thousand times. I'd have thought they'd taken hold. Maria: Mr. Kynaston! Ned Kynaston: Ah, well now, there's a feminine gesture. You seem to have managed the Stamp of Girlish Impetuance. Maria: I just wanted to act. I just wanted to do what you do. Ned Kynaston: I have worked half my life to do what I do. Fourteen boys crammed in a cellar... Do you know when I was in training for this profession, I was not permitted to wear a woman's dress for three long years, I was not permitted to wear a wig for four - not until I had proved that I had eliminated every masculine gesture, every masculine intonation from my very being. What teacher did you learn from? What cellar was your home? Maria: I had no teacher, nor such a classroom. But then, I had less need of training. [Kynaston is in a large, frilly costume dress, and a noblemen has just gone up his skirt, feeling at his crotch and looking surprised] Ned Kynaston: Found a guardian at the gate, did you? Ned Kynaston: Why does one act? Maria: When you act, you are seen. Maria: Mr. Pepys- who do you write all those little notes for? Samuel Pepys: For myself, alone. Maria: Do you enjoy it? Samuel Pepys: I love it. Don't you love acting? Maria: [hesitates] Yes... But unfortunately, I cannot fo it for myself alone, for I fear in truth I am terrible at it. Maria: You almost killed me! Ned Kynaston: I did kill you, you just didn't die.

Other Titles

  1. Compleat Female Stage Beauty (2003) (ENG)
    (UK) (working title)

Shooting/Filming Locations

  1. Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey, England, UK
  2. Hatfield House, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England, UK
  3. London, England, UK
  4. Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London, England, UK - (exteriors)
  5. Shepperton Studios, Shepperton, Surrey, England, UK - (studio)


- Although the movie starts out portraying the traditional Elizabethan style of acting on the stage (ie, stylized non-realistic acting), by the end of the movie, sequences on the stage are being performed in the style of realism (ie, what most people think of as modern acting), which was a style of acting not introduced until the 20th century.

- 'Claire Danes' (qv) and 'Billy Crudup' (qv) became a couple after the filming of this movie. Crudup left his long-time girlfriend 'Mary-Louise Parker' (qv) for Danes.

- 'Kate Winslet' (qv) was originally offered the female lead but she pulled out shortly before filming started.

- The full title of the stage play behind this movie is Compleat Female Stage Beauty, which was reportedly the advertising poster slogan for Kynaston's female impersonations.

- First cinema film of 'Alice Eve' (qv).

- Inspired very loosely by true events, with many characters based on actual personalities from the seventeenth-century stage. Ned Kynaston did play female roles, but also played male roles before and after women were allowed on stage. He would have been 20 in 1660, when the first woman appeared on stage. Margaret Hughes (Maria) is supposed to