Ed Harris Joins Cymbeline With Ethan Hawke


And so the casting begins! Only a few days ago we announced that Ethan Hawke would reteam with Hamlet director Michael Almereyda for yet another adaptation of Shakespeare. This time the play is Cymbeline, and the cast has already begun to grow as Ed Harris was just announced for the choice role of the titular character.

Harris will play King Cymbeline, the ancient British monarch, whose daughter Imogen marries against her father’s will and creates havoc between the warring British and Roman factions. The film will feature not British monarchs and Roman ambassadors, but a drug-dealing biker gang and dirty cops in the 21st Century. That would seem very odd, until one considers that the initial set-up for Cymbeline also involves the King ceasing to pay tribute to his Roman overlords. I can definitely see that working on a 21st Century level.

We’ve yet to hear what part Ethan Hawke himself will play in Cymbeline, but with the titular role occupied  by Harris, I’ll take a stab and say that he’ll be Posthumus Leonatus, Imogen’s husband and more or less the hero of the play. We’ll have to wait and see if I’m right.

Cymbeline might seem a strange choice for a cinematic adaptation. It’s not a terribly recognizable play and most agree that it isn’t Shakespeare’s best. Maybe that will work in Cymbeline’s favor; we can only watch Romeo And Juliet so many time before becoming incredibly bored. There’s also a good track record for adapting Shakespeare’s lesser works to the 21st Century. Ralph Fiennes did it with Coriolanus, which was simply fascinating.

What do you think of Hawke and Almereyda taking on Shakespeare once more? Who else should be added to the Cymbeline cast? Let us know in the comments.

Cymbeline will begin filming August 19 in New York.