Michael Fassbender might have wowed us as a mad monarch in Macbeth back in 2014, but Sir Anthony Hopkins is definitely kinglier… King Lear… get it? Well, as the Bard himself said: “Many a true word hath been spoken in jest.”
I’m not sure he was foreseeing specifically my gag, but conveniently within the awful pun (for which I apologise) there is a glimmer of truth as we get our first glimpse of the wonderful Welsh actor in a new BBC Two / Amazon Prime Video adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy:
Sonia Friedman Productions shared a first look image from Olivier Award-winning director Richard Eyre’s adaptation of King Lear last week with Hopkins in the title role cradling Florence Pugh, set to play the youngest of Lear’s daughters, Cordelia.
The cast is packed to the rafters with A-list stars, with Emma Thompson as Lear’s oldest daughter Goneril and Emily Watson as his middle daughter Regan joining BAFTA nominee Pugh. The always reliable Jim Broadbent will play the Earl of Gloucester, with Andrew Scott as his loyal son Edgar and John Macmillan as his illegitimate son Edmund. Jim Carter is the Earl of Kent, with Christopher Eccleston as Oswald, and Tobias Menzies (Outlander) as the Duke of Cornwall. Anthony Calf plays the Duke of Albany and Karl Johnson is Lear’s loyal jester the Fool.
King Lear has been commissioned by Charlotte Moore at the BBC, and is produced by Playground – the same company behind the astonishing historical drama Wolf Hall – and Sonia Friedman Productions in association with Lemaise Pictures Limited. The drama is a co-production with Amazon Studios.
Let us know if you’ll be watching, what you think of the latest picture, and if you have any favourite Shakespeare adaptations in the comments section below.