The sudden increased popularity of George Orwell’s world-famous, dystopian cautionary novel 1984 has created an unexpected result: a star-studded theatrical production bound for Broadway. Olivia Wilde will make her Broadway debut by starring in a new stage version of the novel set to debut at New York City’s Hudson Theatre in June, with previews beginning in May.

On Monday, the Associated Press reported that actress Olivia Wilde has been cast in the production, presumably playing the lead character Julia. On February 3, the New York Times reported the production was in the works, and now, with Wilde’s casting, the play has suddenly gained some Hollywood appeal. It’s also not the first time Olivia Wilde has taken a role in a darkly rendered science fiction. In the 2011 science fiction film In Time, Wilde briefly played opposite Justin Timberlake (as his mother!) in an Orwellian future where time was used as currency. Wilde also has sci-fi connections through her role as the living computer program Quorra in Tron: Legacy.

At present, it’s unclear if the new stage production of 1984 will be a close adaptation to the Orwell text or if Wilde’s role will be changed. There is no confirmation that Wilde will be playing Julia from the book. Actors Tom Sturridge and Tony Award-winner Reed Birney have also been cast. Respectively, Sturridge would be a good fit for Winston, while Birney seems like an obvious choice for “Big Brother.”

A Penguin edition of '1984'
A Penguin edition of '1984'

According to the Associated Press, the play will draw upon the stage adaptation written by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan, though this has also not been confirmed.


Tickets for a May 18th showing of 1984 at the Hudson Theatre are already on sale.

Ryan Britt is an Associate Editor at Inverse where he specializes in science fiction. He is the author of the 2015 essay collection Luke Skywalker Can't Read and Other Geeky Truths from Plume/Penguin Random House. Ryan's other writing has been published in the New York Times, Tor.com, VICE, Den of Geek! and elsewhere. He lives in New York City with his family.