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King Lear takes shape at BBC, Amazon

The BBC and Amazon have revealed more details of their forthcoming adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear, which will star Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson.

Charlotte Moore

Amazon Prime Video has picked up the rights to the film in the US and Germany and will also stream it in the UK after it has aired on pubcaster BBC2.

Set in a fictional present, the adaptation will star Hopkins as the eponymous ruler, presiding over a totalitarian military dictatorship in England. Thompson plays his oldest daughter.

Commissioned by Charlotte Moore at the BBC, it will be produced by Playground (Wolf Hall) and Sonia Friedman Productions (The Dresser) in association with Lemaise Pictures and in coproduction with Amazon Studios.

Richard Eyre (The Dresser) will direct the adaptation, which will see Hopkins and Thompson reunite in their third collaboration following the feature films Howards End and The Remains of the Day in the 1990s.

Piers Wenger

They will be joined in the cast by Emily Watson, Florence Pugh, Jim Broadbent, Andrew Scott, John Macmillan, Jim Carter, Christopher Eccleston, Tobias Menzies, Anthony Calf and Karl Johnson.

Principal photography on the production begins this month. The executive producers are Colin Callender and Scott Huff for Playground, Sonia Friedman for Sonia Friedman Productions and Lucy Richer for the BBC.

“The film is a testament to the BBC’s ongoing commitment to the single drama, and we are very appreciative of their continued support. We are particularly excited to be working with Amazon, and their support for the film reflects their emergence as a leading global brand of top-quality drama,” said Callender and Friedman in a joint statement.

BBC drama controller Piers Wenger added: “Richard Eyre has assembled an unmissable cast to embody his vision for a timeless but deeply resonant screen adaptation of King Lear.”

Great Point Media will represent international rights to the project at Mipcom later this month.

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