A contemporary TV movie adaptation of the Shakespeare classic King Lear is on its way from BBC and Amazon, starring absolute British gems Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. Produced by Colin Callender’s Playground and Sonia Friedman Productions, the movie will be helmed by Richard Eyre, the genius behind Notes on a Scandal, Iris, and The Dresser, on which Hopkins collaborated.
Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson also reunite for the TV movie, having before worked together on The Remains of the Day (1993) and Howards End (1992). Each are powerhouses in their own right, and have showcased their abilities in bringing Shakespeare to a modern audience; Thompson starred as Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing (1993), whilst Hopkins, no stranger to modernised Shakespeare, marvelled in Titus (1999).
King Lear follows Lear’s gradual descent into madness after he disposes of his kingdom giving bequests to two of his three daughters based on their flattery of him and with terrible consequences for all.
In the BBC’s contemporary twist, Hopkins plays the eponymous ruler, presiding over a totalitarian military dictatorship in England. Thompson stars as his eldest daughter Goneril; Emily Watson also stars, as middle daughter Regan, whilst Florence Pugh plays youngest daughter Cordelia.
The cast’s attraction doesn’t end there, as Jim Broadbent will embody the Earl of Gloucester, Andrew Scott his loyal son Edgar and John Macmillan his illegitimate offspring Edmund. Also attached are Downton Abbey‘s Jim Carter, The Leftovers‘ Christopher Eccleston, Outlander‘s Tobias Menzies, Riviera‘s Anthony Calf, and Rome‘s Karl Johnson.
Principal photography for King Lear begins this month, premiering on BBC Two in 2018. Amazon takes the rights in the US and Germany, with the drama being made available on Prime following its initial run.