Though he doesn’t get nearly the same blowback as James Franco, Ethan Hawke is also something a multi-hyphenate as a writer/actor/director/author and he also knows his way around Shakespeare too. He ushered in the new millenium with “Hamlet,” teaming with director Michael Almereyda for a contemporary retelling that kept the language and brought in a pretty decent bunch of actors—Bill Murray, Sam Shepard, Kyle MacLachlan, Julia Stiles, Liev Schreiber, Steve Zah, Jeffrey Wright, Casey Affleck, Tim Blake Nelson—to tell the Bard’s most famous tale. Now Hawke and Almereyda are going old school again, although with a story that hasn’t really been brought to the big screen.
The pair are getting set to roll on “Cymbeline,” taking Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy set against warring factions Romans and Celtic nobility and updating it into a story about dirty cops and a drug-dealing biker gang. Really. No word yet on which role Hawke will take or if he and Almereyda will manage to grab the same kind of starry cast they did last time out. But with production starting in August, we’ll likely see all those details come to the surface soon enough.
So until then, here’s the nearly 3-hour 1982 BBC adaptation of the play starring Helen Mirren and Richard Johnson to whet your appetite.