Source: Screencap/HBO/YouTube

Watch: Jessica Lange Portrays 'The Great Lillian Hall' in New Trailer

Kilian Melloy READ TIME: 2 MIN.

Get ready for another powerhouse performance from "American Horror Story" and "Feud" star Jessica Lange, as she takes center stage in HBO's "The Great Lillian Hall."

The frequent Ryan Murphy collaborator is working with director Michael Cristofer this time around, and the film is written by Elisabeth Seldes-Annacone. The screenwriter reportedly based the film on her aunt, stage actor Marian Seldes, who, Theater Mania noted, was "a performer who set a Guinness World Record for not missing a single performance during the four-year, 1799-show run of Ira Levin's 'Deathtrap.'"

In the film, title character Lillian Hall (Lange) is rehearsing a new Broadway production of "The Cherry Orchard" when problems with her memory surface. Told that she will experience cognitive decline, along with "visual hallucinations" that will seem real to her, Hall turns to her friend Edith (Kathy Bates) for reassurance: "When I'm gone, will you remind me who I was?"

Meanwhile, the play's director, David, frets that without Lillian – "the first lady of the American theater" – the show cannot go on.

With time running short, the imperfections in her life come into focus, such as her relationship with her daughter, Margaret, who tells an interviewer: "My mother; the theater; they're inseparable," and reveals a strain of bitterness when she adds: "There really wasn't room for anything else."

On the other hand, there's Ty Maynard (Pierce Brosnan), who expresses nothing but faith in Lillian: "No play has ever been written that could defeat her," he declares.

Lillian agrees: "The play is my life, and no one is going to take that from me!"

"Battling against all odds to make it to opening night, while holding on to her fading memories and identity, she must navigate a tumultuous emotional journey," the film's logline reads, "balancing her desire for the spotlight and the stark demands of the real world."

The casting is appropriate: Lange is no slouch on the stage in real life. As Deadline noted, "The three-time Emmy and two-time Oscar-winning Lange is nominated for a 2024 Tony for Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for her performance in 'Mother Play.' The role marks Lange's first Broadway appearance since her Tony-winning performance in 2016's 'Long Day's Journey Into Night.'"

An original HBO production, "The Great Lillian Hall" is scheduled to premiere on the cable service on May 31. Watch the preview below.

by Kilian Melloy , EDGE Staff Reporter

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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