Actors including Olivia Colman and Mark Gatiss have been depicted in roles they wished they had played, as part of a new art exhibition that will tour the country.
The exhibition also includes Paddy Considine, Warwick Davis, Matt Lucas, Michael Sheen, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, John Simm and Eleanor Tomlinson, and all are featured in paintings that show them in the roles they have always wanted to play but have never got the chance to.
It features Lucas in Singin’ in the Rain, and Colman in the film Breaking the Waves.
The paintings are the work of artist Joe Simpson, who said: “I worked with each actor and discussed their ideas about the role, why they chose it and we collaborated on what would be included in the finished piece. I took the original photographs of the actor in costume and used these as references to create the painting with an imagined background and setting, like a film still from a film that doesn’t exist.”
He added: “I wanted to re-invent the role they have chosen, imagining my interpretation of how that could look. I spent more than two months on each piece, and filmed a time lapse of the process.”
The exhibition will include behind-the-scenes displays, including concept sketches, and insights into the reasons behind the actors’ choices.
Sheen appears in a painting showing him in Maurice Sendak’s book Where the Wild Things Are, while Mbatha-Raw is shown as Cleopatra. Her first professional role was a background character in the stage play of Antony and Cleopatra at the Royal Exchange Theatre, and she said it has always been her ambition to play the lead role.
The exhibition, called Act, begins touring this month, opening at the Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery on January 25. It will also visit the Oriel Gallery at Theatr Clwyd, and the Alfred East Art Gallery, in Kettering, with a London exhibition planned for the end of the summer.