Nobody ever listens to me about that proposed moratorium on Shakespeare (for just 10 years people --give other ancient playwrights a chance at movie & stage adaptations!) but if they're going to make another Shakespearean movie, at least it's not Hamlet. Prepping to shoot early next year is King Lear directed by Joshua Michael Stern (whose current movie is Swing Vote. Kevin Costner to Shakespeare... er, okay Hollyweird). Sir Anthony Hopkins is set to play the self-sabotaging monarch. [src]
In concept I love all-star casts but when the property involves familial casting it always freaks me out just a little. Playing Hopkins three famous daughters and thus, sisters, are Naomi Watts (Goneril), Gwyneth Paltrow (Regan) and Keira Knightley (Cordelia). It might be exciting to see Paltrow in an evil role for a change --she no longer loves her Proof daddy -- but I don't really see these three as sisters. They're about as convincing as sisters as the last trio to war with their imperious Learing father (Jessica Lange, Michelle Pfeiffer and Jennifer Jason Leigh in A Thousand Acres)
I should keep an open mind. Maybe I'm just a little sore because if they were going to make King Lear I would've loved to have seen Sir Ian McKellen (my favorite "Sir") under that heavy crown. He's worked with this director before (on Neverwas) and he was just treading the boards a couple of years ago as Lear.
Discounting Shakespeare in Love (not a Shakespearean play, you know, but a play on Shakespeare as it were) the last time a Shakespearean feature was up for Oscar's Best Picture was 40 years ago (Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet) though Shakespearean plays did have a brief Oscar comeback in the 1980s. Akira Kurosawa's Ran (1985, a King Lear adaptation) was a major event and Henry V in 1989, which established the shortlived but endearing Kenneth Branagh & Emma Thompson screen craze. Most of the time film versions of the Bard are ignored by Oscar as they often are by audiences. Perhaps they're too plentiful or there's too much competition to win "definitive" raves. Nevertheless, the allure for filmmakers and actors never goes away.