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Ethan Hawke Back to Shakespeare with 'Hamlet' Director in 'Cymbeline'

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July 31, 2013

Ethan Hawke

This has been a pretty good year for Ethan Hawke so far. Before Midnight has become a critical darling even though it's not raking in tons of money at the box office (the unlikely franchise has a niche audience anyway) and his most recent horror effort The Purge found a good audience in theaters to warrant a sequel. Though the thriller Getaway with Selena Gomez looks to be a misstep in 2013, Hawke is at least keeping busy. Now he's heading back into familiar territory with a new contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare's Cymbeline that will reteam him with Hamlet director Michael Almereyda for the first time in 13 years.

Much like the 2000 version of Hamlet, this new film is based on Shakespeare's work, but takes the story to a modern setting. However, for those familiar with the lesser known play, this adaptation won't sound anything like the original story. Deadline says the film sets a romance against the backdrop of "a war between dirty cops and drug-dealing bikers." It's also being described as "Sons of Anarchy " (the TV series on FX) meets Romeo & Juliet, which sounds interesting in itself. And considering this sounds so drastically different than the original story, we're not entirely sure what role Hawke would take.

It sounds like this adaptation will have about as much in common with the original script as 10 Things I Hate About You has with The Taming of the Shrew. The basic themes might be there, but nearly everything else will be different. Hawke's collaboration with Almereyda in 2000 on the Hamlet adaptation was trying to capitalize on the success of Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, but it wasn't really up to snuff despite Hawke's solid performance. Perhaps this Shakespeare tale will be more engaging despite using one of the playwright's lesser known works. Interested?

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