Uma Thurman will make her Broadway debut this fall in a political drama by Beau Willimon, the creator of “House of Cards.”
Ms. Thurman will star in “The Parisian Woman,” which, despite its title, is about a woman in Washington who is asking her lover to help her husband get a high-level government position. The play is inspired by a 19th-century French boulevard play, “La Parisienne,” by Henry François Becque.
“It’s contemporary, it’s sharp, it’s witty and it’s a grown-up piece of material,” Ms. Thurman said in a telephone interview. “I think it moves beautifully, and I felt like it was a good part for me.”
Ms. Thurman, of course, is a well-known movie star whose most familiar works include “Pulp Fiction” and the “Kill Bill” films. She has one previous stage credit: a 1999 Off Broadway appearance in a contemporary adaptation of Molière’s “The Misanthrope,” presented by the Classic Stage Company. Her performance was not well received by critics, but she said that she had benefited from the experience.
“It was a very long time ago, and certainly it was a very difficult piece to do,” she said. “It was a baptism of sorts. I worked with lots of really great actors, but I couldn’t have chosen something more difficult, and I learned a lot.”
“I’ve given my whole life to performance; many of the pieces I’ve done have been very dramatic and rehearsed,” Ms. Thurman said. “That’s the part I’ve enjoyed the most — the exploration of language, the theatricality — and I’m looking forward to something of real depth and complexity.”
“The Parisian Woman” has been in the works for years and is being revised for Broadway. The Flea Theater, a small Off Off Broadway nonprofit, commissioned it in 2011 from Mr. Willimon, a onetime Democratic political operative whose “Farragut North” ran Off Broadway in 2008 and was adapted for film three years later, directed by George Clooney under the title “The Ides of March.”
In 2012 the new play, at the time with the film director Joel Schumacher attached, was looking for a larger theater than the Flea, and Mr. Willimon said that Broadway was one possibility. But the project instead went in a different direction; in 2013 it was staged at South Coast Repertory in Southern California, directed by Pam MacKinnon, with Dana Delany in the title role. It received mixed but encouraging reviews.
Ms. Thurman said that Ms. MacKinnon, a Tony Award-winning director whom she met through a mutual acquaintance, suggested that she read “The Parisian Woman.”
“I read it and I loved it,” she said. “It was exactly what I was hoping to find.” Ms. Thurman then participated in table readings of the play, but said her appearance in a production was delayed by a horse-riding accident last year; she said that she has now recovered from her injuries.
Ms. MacKinnon will direct the Broadway production. Marc Routh, Richard Frankel, Tom Viertel, Steven Baruch and Steve Traxler are the producers.
It is to open on Nov. 30, at a theater yet to be announced.
Ms. Thurman’s intention to perform in the play was previously reported by Showbiz 411.
“I’m truly excited,” she said. “This will take a lot of courage and a lot of hard, hard work, but I welcome the hard work right now.”