David Tennant's Hamlet to Be Filmed for BBC2; U.S. Broadcast Also

News   David Tennant's Hamlet to Be Filmed for BBC2; U.S. Broadcast Also
The Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Hamlet, which ran at Stratford-upon-Avon July-November 2008 and was followed by a West End run at the Novello Theatre, will be filmed for BBC2, with David Tennant reprising his performance in the title role.
Tennant in Hamlet
Tennant in Hamlet

Gregory Doran will reprise his directorial duties, as will designer Robert Jones, composer Paul Englishby, movement director Mike Ashcroft and fight director Terry King.

All the key members of the original company, including Patrick Stewart as Claudius/Ghost, Penny Downie as Gertrude, Mariah Gale as Ophelia and John Woodvine as the Player King, will also return for the filmed version, as will Edward Bennett as Laertes, who also took over the role of Hamlet from an indisposed Tennant for much of the London run.

Produced by Illuminations (whose producer is John Wyver) — who previously worked with Doran and the RSC on the filmed version of Macbeth starring Antony Sher and Harriet Walter — filming will begin in June for broadcast later in the year on BBC2. Broadcasts in the U.S. and Japan will follow in 2010. A DVD release of the film is also planned and will be on sale after the broadcast date.

According to press materials, the film version "will retain the quality and tone of the critically acclaimed stage production but filming will take place on location" to produce this 180-minute prouction.

In a press statement, RSC artistic director Michael Boyd commented, "We are very pleased that this RSC production will be seen by so many people when broadcast. As the show was sold out for its entire run, this is a really great opportunity for our work to be seen by so many who could not come to the theatre and see it on stage." Doran added, "Contrary to press reports at the time, the RSC always had plans to make a recording of this production but had the inevitable long journey in getting the cast together again and securing funding for this project. The Hamlet cast and the RSC are all really delighted that we now have the chance to share this show with audiences around the world, and I would like to thank all those involved in making this plan a reality at last."

The project was commissioned by Ben Stephenson, controller, BBC Drama Commissioning and George Entwistle, controller, BBC Knowledge Commissioning. Chris Seager will be director of photography. A BBC website is being created in collaboration with the RSC to feature behind-the-scenes stills and footage; specially shot interviews with the actors talking about their characters and how they've approached the play; further interviews with the director and other key backstage personnel; and more.

The full cast comprises David Ajala (Reynaldo), Sam Alexander (Rosencrantz and Second Gravedigger), Edward Bennett (Laertes), Ricky Champ (Lucianus) Ewen Cummins (Barnardo), Robert Curtis (Fortinbras and Francisco), Tom Davey (Guildenstern), Peter De Jersey (Horatio), Penny Downie (Gertrude), Samuel Dutton (Dumbshow King and Court Attendant), Oliver Ford Davies (Polonius), Ryan Gage (Osric), Mariah Gale (Ophelia), Mark Hadfield (Gravedigger), Andrea Harris (Cornelia), Jim Hooper (Priest), Keith Osborn (Marcellus), Roderick Smith (Voltemand), Patrick Stewart (Claudius/Ghost), Riann Steele (Lady in Waiting), David Tennant (Hamlet) and Zoe Thorne (Lady in Waiting) and John Woodvine (Player King).

David Tennant in Hamlet
David Tennant in Hamlet Ellie Kurttz/RSC
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