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William Monahan Directing an Adaptation of Period Play 'Becket'

by
November 12, 2010
Source: Deadline

William Monahan / Becket

At the end of October, we got our first look at the directorial debut of writer William Monahan (The Departed) with the gritty crime thriller London Boulevard starring Colin Farrell. Now the Oscar winning writer has lined up his next project as Deadline reports Monahan will write and direct a new adaptation of Becket, the 1959 stage play from playwright Jean Anouilh. The period story follows the friendship and estrangement between King Henry II and the Archbishop of Canterbury. It may not seem all that bold of a project, but it'll be quite a challenge to make a splash when the 1964 adaptation (with Peter O'Toole) got 11 Oscar noms.

Here's what the screenwriter/director had to say about his take on the classic play:

"It's an adaptation, or re-invigoration, of an older play, which has already been a brilliant film. For me, it's a chance to take on one of the greatest stories in our civilization, a double tragedy with two heroes, each of them paradoxical, each of them brilliant, each of them making mistakes that lead to their undoing. The world of the Plantagenets was very rich and we'll open the play up into that world and go into the relationships of the Angevin court more than the 1964 film was able to do. To adapt something is to do a literary personalization of a story, so in that sense I'll be doing a very different 'Becket.'"

Apparently Monahan will be basing this adaptation on the original 1959 text of the French play. No studio is attached, but Monahan and Smuggler Films are currently getting financing in order to start pre-production early next year in the UK. No word on casting just yet since the project is just now starting to get off the ground, but as with all period dramas, you can assume that at least the costumes will be intricate and extravagant. I'm looking forward to see if Monahan's skills behind the camera are just as good as his work on the page, and if London Boulevard is as good as it looks, then this should be more than your average period drama. What do you think?

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  • Cracky
    Becket (with O'Toole and Richard Burton) was phenomenal. I personally cannot wait to see if Monahan's can match the caliber of that film. But-- I get the feeling it won't.

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