Aside from playing the role of Jesse in Richard Linklater’s three-part transcontinental love stories—Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight—and his loveable slacker Troy Dyer in Reality Bites, one of Ethan Hawke’s finest performances was as the quintessential role for any actor, Hamlet in Hamlet. As a man of the stage and screen, Hawke brought the titular role to life in Michael Almereyda’s film of 2000—which also featured a brilliant cast of corn-rowed Julia Stiles, Kyle MacLachlan, Bill Murray, and Sam Shepard. And as Hamlet was the director’s finest worth thus far, naturally he’s returned to his leading man for his next Shakespearean endeavor, Cymbeline.
For the modern spin on the classic tale, the film will focus on “an epic battle between dirty cops and a drug-dealing biker gang”—not quite a direct adaptation of the original text by any means, but perhaps the shake-up needed to kick this lesser praised work into cinematic drive. And with the success of Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing, perhaps even those who aren’t fans of the Bard will be thriving with excitement for the prospective feature. Set to be shot in New York starting next month, the film has finally found it’s backing and although the rest of the cast has yet to be announced, more on that should be rolling in shortly.
In the meantime, let’s watch some key moments from 2000’s Hamlet and fantasize about what might be.