Emile Hirsch and Catherine Hardwicke Taking on Hamlet

June 3, 2009

Emile Hirsch and Catherine Hardwicke

Now this is how you do modern Shakespeare! A new take on Hamlet is being put together by director Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen, Twilight) with Emile Hirsch, who helped conceive the idea, set to star, as well as Milk producers Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen producing and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Ron Nyswaner (Philadelphia, The Painted Veil) writing. Overture Films is developing this and is awaiting a finished script with hopes of getting into production soon. Jinks and Cohen said their "goal is to present the story as a suspense thriller. We want to make it exciting and accessible for an audience today."

This new Hamlet will center on similar themes as the original play, but will be set in contemporary America instead of Denmark. Here's how they plan to make it "exciting" and "accessible" - in the new version, a young man must decide whether to kill his uncle to avenge the death of his father. Sounds like an interesting update of Shakespeare's classic, I just hope it's not too stale. This isn't the only Shakespeare adaptation in the works - Michael Radford is adapting King Lear with Al Pacino set to star and Ralph Fiennes is directing and starring in a literal translation of Coriolanus. We'll definitely be keeping a close eye on this project.

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"Here's how they plan to make it "exciting" and "accessible" - in the new version, a young man must decide whether to kill his uncle to avenge the death of his father" How is that synopsis in any way different or updated from the original play?

Matt on Jun 3, 2009


Aha that was exactly what I was thinking Matt!

Maxx on Jun 3, 2009


Seriously, just give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he's not familiar with the Bard's work (among other things). I'm suprised he didn't say "sounds like they're ripping off 'The Lion King' to me". Actually that would have made my whole day. Anyway, might be good, I always liked the ambiguity of the original story, where you don't know if (spoiler) Hamlet is crazy or he's really seeing ghosts, I hope they maintain that sense.

Matt S on Jun 3, 2009


Matt - I am familiar with Shakespeare, come on! But I was just referencing that line as it was written in Hollywood Reporter. Apparently there is much more to the story that is updated than just that part, but they didn't include it... Oh well!

Alex Billington on Jun 3, 2009


... This is awesome news... Emile Hirsch is one of my favourite actors, ad would definitley bring the right amount of Drama to the role of Hamlet. This idea has been done before though: Not very well... but it has been done. I'm looking forward to this, hopefully it's more visually appealling then Ethan Hawke's Hamlet... More like Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, which is a favourite of mine... ...

Mondo Jay on Jun 3, 2009



xerxex on Jun 3, 2009


Um. Sorry to disappoint them, but Branagh already gave us the definitive Hamlet back in 1996. No reason for another filmed version.

Rabican on Jun 3, 2009

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