Undeniable Captures Ruth Wilson Performance in New Doc


Fremantle’s Undeniable is producing a new feature documentary tentatively titled The Second Woman, capturing Golden Globe and Olivier Award winner Ruth Wilson (Luther, His Dark Materials) in a one-off performance of the eponymous play.

The play sees Ruth perform a single breakup scene over and over, playing opposite 100 different men, nonbinary and queer people, many of whom are non-actors she has never met before, across a full 24 hours. Inspired by John Cassavetes’ 1977 film Opening Night, the scene involves a couple negotiating a long-term relationship that has lost its romance.

Undeniable’s documentary will chart Wilson’s performance as a journey of self-exploration, drawing on her collective experiences of life and work. It is being directed by Ursula Macfarlane, whose credits include Untouchable and Anna Nicole Smith: You Don’t Know Me, and produced and executive produced by Mandy Chang and Linda Brusasco of Fremantle Documentaries, as well as by Wilson.

The Second Woman play was created and directed by Australian theater and film artists Anna Breckon and Nat Randall. It is co-produced by the Young Vic Theatre and LIFT.

“Theater to me is always a magical space of shared belief and imagination,” Wilson said. “As an artist, I’m always curious about putting myself in scenarios where I don’t know how I’m going to get through it. Which is exactly why this endurance performance is so exciting. It’s an extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime experience and to have such a talented, all-female and nonbinary crew on hand to capture every moment should make for a fascinating watch.”

Macfarlane said, “I am thrilled to be working with the incandescent Ruth Wilson, Undeniable and the Young Vic to make such a challenging, bold, unpredictable film. With this unique and magical theatrical experience at the heart of our film, balancing on the blurred edges between real life and performance, we’ll explore gender power dynamics, human relationships, artifice and authenticity and the very nature of acting. This is a leap into the unknown for all of us, and a storytelling challenge like this is the greatest gift for a filmmaker.”

Chang, global head of documentaries at Fremantle, added, “The opportunity to make a film woven around this groundbreaking piece of theater, with a team that is completely made up of female professionals is a rare gift, as is working with two great talents in their fields—actor Ruth Wilson and director Ursula Macfarlane. Ruth’s bravery, boldness and sense of adventure in taking on this role is a joy to see unfold. Ursula is one of the foremost women filmmakers working in the documentary field today and her work has focused on a wide diversity of female characters in all their guises during her career.”