Daisy Ridley, Naomi Watts to star in ‘Hamlet’ re-imagining ‘Ophelia’
In a new film announced on Wednesday, Ridley will be taking a break from Star Wars to play Ophelia, the tragic love interest of Hamlet in Shakespeare’s immortal play. Watts is on board to play Queen Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother.
It’s a reimagining of a Shakespeare play without using the original text, but don’t expect this to be in the same vein as 10 Things I Hate About You or She’s the Man. The film, titled Ophelia, will take place in the 14th century. We got a still-set-in-the-Middle-Ages alternate view of Hamlet with Rosencranz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Now we get one, albeit probably less absurdist and meta, with the focus put on Ophelia. The film’s script is an adaptation of the 2006 young adult novel Ophelia by Lisa Klein.
No word on whether the film will take place or be filmed in Denmark — a rep for the project tells HitFix that they have not confirmed where the production will be shooting. How cool would it be if they filmed this at the real Elsinore Castle (a.k.a. Kronborg)?
Here’s the official synopsis sent out in today’s announcement:
Set in the 14th Century but spoken in a contemporary voice, Ophelia is a pulse-pounding insight into a perilous world of murder and betrayal. Ophelia takes center stage as the queen’s most trusted lady-in-waiting. Beautiful and intelligent, she soon captures the attention of the handsome Prince Hamlet and their forbidden love blossoms. As war brews, lust and betrayal are tearing Elsinore Castle apart and Ophelia must decide between her true love or her own life in order to protect a very dangerous secret.
I’ll be very curious to see what that “contemporary voice” sounds like and whether this script weaves in any of Shakespeare’s original text.
24-year-old Ridley strikes me as an excellent fit for Ophelia, and I look forward to seeing how the range she displayed in Force Awakens as Rey is applied to this heroine. The folks who hired her for the part seem to think so too: “Daisy Ridley’s fresh blend of strength and vulnerability is perfect for the title role of Ophelia,” said Elizabeth Kim Schwan of Covert Media in a press release.
Covert Media is making the film and bringing it to buyers at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival this month. Australian filmmaker Claire McCarthy (The Waiting City) is directing from a script by Semi Chellas (Mad Men).
The project has Watts trying her hand at a passion of her longtime partner, Liev Schreiber. He has taken the stage for numerous Shakespeare productions. Oh, and he played Laertes (Ophelia’s brother) in the 2000 Ethan Hawke Hamlet. He participated in HitFix’s video celebration of 400 years of Shakespeare, which you can watch below.