With three major film adaptations in the latest two decades alone, I wouldn’t have thought “Hamlet” was crying out for another big-screen treatment, but apparently I was wrong. (What’s wrong with Shakespeare’s other plays? Not too shabby, some of ‘em.)
Anyway, news came yesterday that Catherine Hardwicke is to helm the latest outing for the Prince of Denmark, in a film being developed by the rapidly rising Overture Films. No word yet on whether the “Twilight” director’s involvement signals a tween-generation take on the Bard, though Overture has confirmed that the film will refashion as a “suspense thriller” set in contemporary America. (I guess because that 2000 thriller-ized American update with Ethan Hawke never happened? Help me out here.)
Emile Hirsch will be the latest thesp to step into the role, with Oscar-winning producers Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen (“Milk,” “American Beauty”) boasting that he’ll be the first age-appropriate actor to play the role on film. Oscar nominee Ron Nyswaner (“Philadelphia,” “The Painted Veil”) is handling script duties.
I can’t say the triple-H combo of Hardwicke, Hirsch and Hamlet has me salivating, but I’ll do my best to keep an open mind. Still, forgive me if I think this joins the mooted “Total Recall” remake as the week’s least necessary announcement. Press release extract after the jump.
“With its universal themes of death, revenge, love and even teen angst – the story of Hamlet is perhaps as timely and influential today as it was when it was written over 400 years ago,” said Overture Films CEO Chris McGurk and COO Danny Rosett. “Tremendous talent is on board in the form of Emile, Catherine and Ron and we are confident – particularly with Bruce and Dan guiding the project – that this has all the right ingredients to be something special.”
“This project was the brainchild of Emile Hirsch, who we had the pleasure of working with on ‘Milk’. Hamlet was in college when the story takes place, yet there hasn’t been a movie version with an appropriately-aged actor playing the role. Our goal is to present the story as a suspense thriller. We want to make it exciting and accessible for an audience today,” Jinks and Cohen said in a joint statement.
Hardwicke added, “I had a great time working with Emile on ‘Lords of Dogtown’, so when he suggested ‘Hamlet’, I was intrigued. We read the play aloud and when I heard Emile speaking Shakespeare’s amazing words, I was flooded with images. We edited the play tightly, making the words extremely accessible. In our version, we’re working hard to make ‘Hamlet’ a thrilling cinematic experience — the violent, intense, and romantic scenes that happen ‘off-stage’ in the play will be shown in vivid detail.”