The Handmaid's Tale star Joseph Fiennes set to play Gareth Southgate in new project

joseph fiennes
The Handmaid's Tale star to play Gareth Southgate VALERIE MACON - Getty Images

The Handmaid’s Tale star Joseph Fiennes is set to star as Gareth Southgate, the England men's football manager in an upcoming play at the National Theatre.

Fiennes will play the football-player-turned-manager in Dear England, about the pressures players face when taking penalties (via BBC).

The play includes the infamous moment when Southgate missed a penalty for England in 1996, as well as the Euro 2020 penalty shoot-out. Playwright James Graham has said the play also examines "the identity of a football team and the country".

gareth southgate, qatar 2022 world cup, gareth southgate 2022
PAUL ELLIS - Getty Images

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Speaking of Fiennes' return to the stage, Graham said: "We sort of joked together — him, me and the director — that your return to stage would normally be Henry V or King Lear, not Gareth!"

"But I do think it has that scale, that epic quality, his journey, in the unlikely figure of Gareth Southgate. I hope that's what drew Joseph to the part."

Describing the play, Graham said that it will highlight a "gentle revolution" that took place within the team following Southgate's appointment as manager in 2016.

"I think what has happened to the men's England football team over the past six years has been quietly extraordinary," Graham told BBC News.

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Graham described Southgate's journey as "Shakespearean".

"It goes back to his moment in 1996, when he felt all the weight of that history and the pressure and expectations on the moment that he missed that penalty," he said.

"Cut to 22 years later, he is the one who breaks the penalty curse for the English football team, allowing them to win a World Cup penalty shoot-out for the first time."

Directed by Rupert Goold, Dear England will run at the National Theatre from June 10 to August 11, with tickets on sale from March 9.

The Handmaid's Tale streams on Hulu in the US and both Channel 4 and Prime Video in the UK.

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