Harold Pinter is penning a screenplay adaptation of Shakespeare's King Lear, to be directed by Tim Roth, Variety has reported.
Roth, known as an actor, debuted as a film director with "The War Zone." Playwright Pinter (Betrayal, Ashes to Ashes, The Dumb Waiter) has scripted such films as "The French Lieutenant's Woman" and "The Last Tycoon."
Roth will not act in the Shakespeare tragedy about the monarch who ruinously banishes a good daughter and mistakenly gives his kingdom to his wicked offspring. The British-produced picture is to begin shooting in late 2000 or early 2001.
Roth told Variety the picture may be a non-traditional version of the story, a la Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo+Juliet."
"I'm not interested in a bunch of people sitting around a castle talking," Roth reportedly said. "What Harold Pinter will do is rearrange, cut and then turn it from a stage piece into cinema." A TV version of King Lear starred Laurence Olivier in the 1980s. In 1971, Paul Scofield and Irene Worth starred in a film directed by Peter Brook. A "punk-apocalyptic" picture, directed by Jean Luc-Godard and featuring Woody Allen, Peter Sellars, Molly Ringwald and Norman Mailer (!), was released in 1987. Of the latter Swiss-U.S. picture, historian critic Leonard Maltin called it "garish" and "bizarre," adding, "Little to be said about this pretentious mess except...avoid it."
-- By Kenneth Jones