The final production of the Donmar's year-long residency at Wyndham's was originally to be directed by Kenneth Branagh. Branagh, according to a press statement, "has had to step aside because of his commitments to the forthcoming feature film 'Thor' – a project he has recently undertaken."
In a press statement, Grandage commented, "I am thrilled and flattered to have the opportunity to direct Jude Law – one of the leading actors of his generation as he takes on one of the most important roles of his career. Kenneth Branagh will continue as artistic associate of the season and we have arrived at this arrangement very amicably whilst I still have time to proceed with a brand new production of this great play next year. From the outset Ken has been a huge support and inspiration for the Donmar West End season – a project that we could not have realised without his input."
Law added, "I feel privileged to be part of the Donmar West End season and to be directed by the company's artistic director Michael Grandage on Hamlet. It was Ken who brought me to this project and with his support and guidance, as one of the greatest Hamlets of all time, and with Michael directing, I can't imagine a better scenario for me, as an actor, to undertake the role."
The entire four-play season of Donmar productions are now being directed by Grandage; after the current Ivanov, he will also direct Twelfth Night and Madame de Sade. Due to stepping in to direct Hamlet, it has become necessary for Michael Grandage to postpone his National Theatre directorial debut that had been scheduled for 2009, when he was due to direct Danton's Death.
Members of the public who have booked tickets to see Hamlet directed by Branagh can apply to their point of sale for a full refund before May 29, 2009, should they no longer wish to see the production because of the change of director. To book tickets for the Donmar West End season, contact the box office at 0844 482 5120 or visit www.donmarwestend.com.