EXCLUSIVE: On the heels of their Oscar win for The Long Goodbye, Sound Of Metal and Rogue One actor Riz Ahmed and director Aneil Karia are confirmed for a contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare’s basic Hamlet, which is being launched by WME Independent on the Cannes market.
Ahmed will star within the titular position of Hamlet, a person haunted by his father’s ghost and pushed to more and more unstable heights. The new model of the basic will see Hamlet transfer by London’s elite circles and attend exuberant events, going to violent lengths to avenge his father and show his uncle responsible.
Scroll down for our unique interview with the pair about their well timed imaginative and prescient for the film.
Karia is about to direct from a script by Michael Lesslie (Macbeth). Ahmed will produce on behalf of his manufacturing firm Left-Handed Films along with his producing associate Allie Moore, alongside Michael Lesslie’s Storyteller Films and Under The Skin producer Jim Wilson.
Rounding out the forged for now are BAFTA Rising Star nominee Morfydd Clark (Saint Maud) who’s connected to play Ophelia and The Favourite and Harriet actor Joe Alywn who will play Laertes.
WME Independent will deal with worldwide gross sales and co-rep North American rights with CAA. Ahmed and Karia can be on the bottom in Cannes to debate the challenge with consumers at a presentation and we hear there’s already curiosity from potential financiers.
Ahmed and Karia stated: “This is a Hamlet about race, privilege, corruption – and whether or not setting issues proper means setting hearth to your complete previous order. This Hamlet belongs to a rich British Indian household who purchase their method up the English institution at nice private value. This is an pressing story instructed in a daring method, that can seize maintain of audiences and gained’t let go.”
They continued: “We wish to proceed what we began with The Long Goodbye, in telling a narrative that’s each completely grounded and genuine to our expertise but in addition pushes into motion, thriller, style, and poetry. We’ve each felt on the skin of Shakespeare, however as South Asians additionally deeply related to what these tales are about – themes like household, honor, and responsibility. So, our intention is to carry Hamlet to life by setting it in our personal group. We wish to crack this timeless story open for a wider viewers – with a various forged, a up to date London setting, and by injecting classical verse with the power of rap, a style which now we have each labored in extensively.”
Karia hails from an Irish, Indian, Ugandan and Welsh background, however was born in Ipswich, studied in Leeds and has lived in London most of his grownup life. Ahmed was born in Wembley, London, to a British Pakistani household, which moved to the UK in the course of the Seventies.
WME Independent co-heads Deborah McIntosh and Alex Walton described the challenge as “a model of Hamlet not like any you’ve seen earlier than. It can be visceral, fashionable, and can contact upon present themes.”
We caught up with each actor Ahmed and director Karia to delve deeper into their intriguing re-imagining, which can use Shakespeare’s authentic language in a contemporary context.
The adaptation has lengthy been a ardour challenge for Nightcrawler star Ahmed and Macbeth screenwriter Lesslie, who’ve identified one another since college once they labored collectively on a manufacturing of Julius Caesar. The challenge has been percolating for at the very least 10 years, Ahmed instructed us.
There have been talks just a few years in the past that the challenge may arrange at Netflix however that didn’t finally come to go. Karia got here aboard following his current collaboration with Ahmed on The Long Goodbye, the Oscar-wining brief about racism, id and nationalism. That expertise gave the creatives a template for his or her model of Hamlet.
“This is a movie about most of the urgent problems with our time,” Ahmed instructed us. “It offers with race, greed, capitalism, corruption and privilege, and but it additionally boils right down to being an amazing thriller. It has components of psychological horror and motion. The script is fast-paced and kinetic, leaping from one visually wealthy setting to a different.”
The London backdrops will vary from luxurious Indian weddings to the rows of homeless tents which have turn into a characteristic of cities together with London, Paris and LA.
Ahmed continued: “We’re going to see the various totally different sides to London from the elite evening life and tremendous automobiles to ornate Hindu temples and battered down funeral houses, from council estates to plush excessive rises. London is a metropolis of juxtapositions and haves and have-nots.”
The plan is to start filming after the summer season. “Everyone is singularly targeted on telling this story”, The Night Of star added. “It feels pressing, recent and disruptive in the correct method.”
Karia initially had some reservations about tackling Shakespeare. At faculty he was made to really feel just like the Bard was the protect of a sure elite. But after discussing the challenge with Lesslie and Ahmed, the rising filmmaker quickly got here spherical to the distinctive and a number of layers inherent on this model.
“This can be a pared again model of the verse. We wish to be true to the verse however to create a world, a tone and supply that enables folks to step into it. We wish to break down partitions for generations which have felt any barrier to entry in relation to Shakespeare,” he instructed us.
Karia added: “What we turned enthusiastic about was a really singular, first individual, visceral movie about human fragility and sanity…it’s an atmospheric thriller with each scale and intimacy.”
The theme of psychological well being was essential in Karia’s Sundance 2020 debut characteristic Surge, starring Ben Wishaw, and this Hamlet will even cope with the topic of psychological well being, each within the title position and Ophelia.
Ahmed is represented by WME and attorneys Tara Kole and Danny Passman. Karia is represented by CAA. Clark is represented by Curtis Brown, UTA and Mosaic. Alwyn is represented by CAA, Independent Talent and Management 360.