King Lear cast announced for BBC Two
Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson lead all-star ensemble cast. Richard Eyre to direct Shakespeare adaptation.
BBC Two, Golden Globe, BAFTA and RTS Award-winning drama producer Playground and Olivier and Tony Award-winning producer Sonia Friedman Productions announced that Anthony Hopkins (The Dresser, Nixon, Silence Of The Lambs) and Emma Thompson (The Children Act, The Remains Of The Day, Sense And Sensibility) reunite in their third collaboration and lead an all-star cast for their upcoming production of Shakespeare's King Lear, adapted and directed by BAFTA and Olivier Award-winning director Richard Eyre (The Dresser, Notes On A Scandal). Principal photography begins this month.
The film for television is commissioned by the BBC and will premiere on BBC Two in the UK in 2018. Amazon Studios is co-producing and taking US and German rights. Amazon Prime Video will also air the drama in the UK, following the BBC's run.
Set in the fictional present, King Lear sees Academy Award winner Anthony Hopkins as the eponymous ruler, presiding over a totalitarian military dictatorship in England. Academy Award and BAFTA Award winner Emma Thompson stars as his oldest daughter Goneril. Academy Award nominee and BAFTA Award winner Emily Watson (Theory Of Everything, Genius) stars as his middle daughter Regan, and rising star Florence Pugh (Lady Macbeth, Marcella) as Cordelia, the youngest of Lear's children.
Academy Award and BAFTA Award winner Jim Broadbent (Iris, Game Of Thrones) takes the role of the Earl of Gloucester, BAFTA Award winner Andrew Scott (Sherlock, The Hollow Crown) as his loyal son Edgar and John Macmillan (Hanna, Chewing Gum) as his illegitimate son Edmund.
Emmy Award nominated Jim Carter (Downton Abbey, Cranford) takes the role of the Earl of Kent, Emmy Award winner Christopher Eccleston (The Leftovers, Thor: The Dark World) as Oswald, and Golden Globe nominee Tobias Menzies (Outlander, The Terror), plays the Duke of Cornwall. Anthony Calf (New Tricks, Riviera) plays the Duke of Albany and Karl Johnson (Wittgenstein, Rome) is set to play Lear's loyal jester the Fool.
Colin Callender and Sonia Friedman, Executive Producers, say: "It is a tribute to the great Richard Eyre that we have brought together such a remarkable cast. The film is a testament to the BBC's on-going 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."
Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, says: "Richard Eyre has assembled an unmissable cast to embody his vision for a timeless but deeply resonant screen adaptation of King Lear. We are all looking forward to seeing this landmark production come to life on BBC Two."
Brad Beale, Vice President, Worldwide TV Content Acquisition, Amazon Prime Video, says:"Playground has an incredible track record of producing award-worthy series and films, and we are delighted to work with them and SFP on bringing such a star-studded, exciting adaptation to Prime members."
King Lear has been commissioned by Charlotte Moore at the BBC, and will be produced by Playground (Wolf Hall, Howards End, Little Women) and Sonia Friedman Productions (The Dresser) in association with Lemaise Pictures Limited for BBC Two. The drama is a co-production with Amazon Studios. The producer is No�lette Buckley (The Dresser, Wolf Hall). Executive producers are Colin Callender and Scott Huff for Playground, Sonia Friedman for Sonia Friedman Productions, and Lucy Richer for the BBC. Great Point Media will represent international rights in the project from MIPCOM 2017.