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‘Shakespeare in Love’ screenplay writer Tom Stoppard said ‘Leopoldstadt’ would be his last play — now he’s not so sure


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Christiane Amanpour CNN, Emmet Lyons CNN, Ken Olshansky CNN

Legendary playwright Tom Stoppard has said that he remains unsure as to whether he has written his last work.

“At the moment, I’m sitting here with nothing to write, and I’m thinking I really ought to try and write something else now,” Stoppard told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in a sit down interview.

Stoppard is best known for an extensive body of work which includes writing the iconic play “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead’ and the screenplay for the 1998 film “Shakespeare in Love.”

In previous interviews, the 83-year-old had hinted that his current work — the Olivier award-winning “Leopoldstadt” — would be his final contribution to the theater industry when it finishes its run on London’s West End.

“Leopoldstadt was a big thing to get past,” Stoppard admitted. “I thought it was a nice big solid work to finish on but what else am I supposed to do?”

“I’m a playwright, by more than, as it were, labeling. I feel like somebody who writes plays while they’re still alive.”

“Leopoldstadt” focuses on a Jewish family in Vienna at the beginning of the 20th century and was shaped by Stoppard’s own heritage — a background that he wasn’t fully aware of until his cousin revealed the extent of Stoppard’s family history in 1993.

It was quite the revelation. “My four grandparents all died in the Holocaust — one place or another place. Two of my mother’s sisters. My brother survived,” Stoppard said. “I was not at all concerned to, as it were, use my own family history and put clues towards that.”

Speaking about where his ideas come from Stoppard said, “Theater is a storytelling art form. I don’t think of myself as a polemical writer so I’m not, as it were, hauling my play forward thinking about what it must speak to the people.”

“All I’m doing is, in my mind, telling a story, creating a story, trying to make a story, keep moving, trying to make it human,” he added.

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