The "brainchild" of actor Emile Hirsch, Overture Films is developing a modern-day adaptation of the William Shakespeare classic "Hamlet," with Hirsch playing Hamlet, and Catherine Hardwicke directing. The script is being written by Ron Nyswaner ("Philadelphia," "The Painted Veil") and producers Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen of The Jinks/Cohen Company ("Milk") are producing the project.
The story - focusing on a young man burdened with the decision of whether to take revenge on his father's killer (his own uncle) - would take place in contemporary America.
"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, in a statement. "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.
"I had a great time working with Emile on 'Lords of Dogtown', so when he suggested 'Hamlet', I was intrigued," Hardwicke added. "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."
Hardwicke last directed 2008's massive hit "Twilight," which went on to gross close to $380 million worldwide.
Overture hopes to have a finished script in the coming months with principal photography commencing soon thereafter.