Tom Hollander ‘cautious’ about opening post from Russia during ‘anti-Putin’ play

By Ellie Iorizzo, PA Senior Entertainment Reporter

Tom Hollander said he is “more cautious” about opening any post from Russia that arrives at the West End theatre where he stars in an “anti-Putin” play following the war in Ukraine.

The White Lotus star, 55, plays billionaire businessman Boris Berezovsky opposite His Dark Materials actor Will Keen who stars as Vladimir Putin in Patriots at the Noel Coward Theatre.

The Bafta-award winning actor appeared on Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg where he was asked if his approach to the play had changed, given it was written by Peter Morgan before the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Hollander said: “What has changed now that we’re at war is I’m more cautious about opening any post that arrives at the theatre from Russia.

“We’re at war aren’t we, and we’re quite visibly doing a play which is broadly speaking anti-Putin and so I just go, ‘Oh, I probably won’t open that’.”

When asked if he felt he has made himself a target by taking on the role, he said: “No, I just think it’s a little bit more serious than it would have been before the war, that’s all.

“We’re not doing this sweet (Anton) Chekhov play, we’re doing something that’s about living figures who are embattled with the west. It’s just a reason for not opening everything that arrives in the post.”

Hollander described the play as a “morality tale” about somebody going to war with the devil and losing.

He added: “They were all patriots, Putin is sincere, he is a moralist.

“Berezovsky in his own way is a moralist, so is (Alexander) Litvinenko. All these characters who we learn about, they’re all fighting over the soul of Russia and they all felt they were doing the right thing and therein lies the tragedy.”