Michael Almereyda’s adaptation of Cymbeline, one of Shakespeare’s lesser-known works, trades in the play’s ancient British setting for a modern-day urban landscape ravaged by a war between a corrupt police force and a violent biker gang. Due to its gun-heavy grittiness, the film is receiving comparisons with FX’s crime drama Sons of Anarchy, which also centers on a biker gang (interestingly, Almereyda originally titled the film Anarchy before opting for the traditional title). It also brings to mind Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet (1996), which recast Shakespeare’s tragedy as a rivalry between two mob empires. Cymbeline, which opens on March 13th, will feature an all-star cast including Ethan Hawke (Boyhood), Ed Harris (Snowpiercer), Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil), John Leguizamo (Chef), Penn Badgley (Margin Call), and Dakota Johnson (Fifty Shades of Grey).
Almereyda is mostly known for his other Shakespeare update, Hamlet (2000), which starred Ethan Hawke in the title role and reimagined the Kingdom of Denmark as the “Denmark Corporation.” His latest film, Experimenter – a biopic of the social psychologist Stanley Milgram, starring Peter Sarsgaard – premiered at this year’s Sundance Festival.
You can check out the trailer for Cymbeline below.