Fresh off the recent successes of the widely different summer entries Before Midnight and The Purge, Ethan Hawke is set to reunite with his Hamlet (2000) director Michael Almereyda for another contemporary take on Shakespeare. This effort with fill the form of one of Bard’s lesser known works, considered by many scholars to be one of “his problem plays” – Cymbeline. The original play, a romantic tragedy, was centered around the legend of the early Celtic British King Cunobelinus.
This film, to be scripted by Almereyda as well, modernizes the text to present day America in a tale of dirty cops and drug dealing biker gangs, employing themes of lust and revenge, and described as being in the vein of TV’s Sons of Anarchy (itself a loosely adapted version of Hamlet) and Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo+Juliet (1996).
Modernized takes or not, Shakespeare’s do appear to be every bit as timeless as our English teachers always told us. Cymeline will follow Joss Whedon’s take on Much Ado About Nothing, which released earlier this year, and a new adaptation of Romeo and Juliet releasing September 6. Also in the works is Enemy of Man, a Macbeth adaptation starring Sean Bean (The Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones).