Hoping to show that Kenneth Branagh isn't the only classical actor who can put Shakespeare on the big screen successfully, Ian McKellen has co-produced has co-written and stars in a fierce new film adaptation of "Richard III," which opened Dec. 29. Shakespeare's drama charts the ruthless rise of an English duke who murders his way to the throne, then must fight to keep it. McKellen's adaptation relocates the story to 1930s-era Britain, reimagining the play as a Fascist takeover of that nation in the Hitler era. McKellen read some of the play's speeches in his one-man Broadway show.
McKellen who is executive producer and co-screenwriter (with Director Richard Longcraine and Shakespeare) also plays the title character.
The production co-stars Annette Bening, Maggie Smith, Nigel Hawthorne, John Wood and Robert Downey Jr. Others in the cast include Jim Broadbent and Kristin Scott Thomas. Music is by Trevor Jones. The film is distributed by United Artists.