The cast of Michael Almereyda’s latest modern update of a Shakespeare work, Cymbeline, keeps swelling with notable names. The casting story on this one started with the news that Ethan Hawke, who also starred in Almereyda’s 2000 version of Hamlet, would be lending his hand in an undisclosed role to this film as well, it kept going with the news that Ed Harris had been brought on to play the title character of the piece, King Cymbeline, and somewhere along the lines Penn Badgley and Milla Jovovich were brought on board as well. That’s a pretty solid lineup already, and Almereyda wasn’t event done yet.
The latest casting news, from Screen Daily, is that two more notable names have just been brought on board to round out the cast. Said names are Star Trek’s Anton Yelchin and 21 Jump Street’s Dakota Johnson. Given the amount of actors already signed for this one and the fact that Shakespeare’s original story is kind of complex, figuring out who everybody is playing is something of a confusing endeavor. Let’s do our best to untangle the knot.
Though we’ve been told that Almereyda’s modern reimagining of this story is going to somehow involve a crime-ravaged city and a war between corrupt police officers and a criminal biker gang, Shakespeare’s original tale was mostly concerned with the heir to a throne. In the story, Cymbeline (Harris) is the King, his daughter (Johnson) is his only living heir, and the man she marries will end up being the new King once Cymbeline dies. This becomes a problem when the impetuous princess marries a lower born man (Badgley) without anyone’s consent, and then the problem becomes further confused when a manipulative Queen (Jovovich) takes steps to get rid of this new guy and install her son (Yelchin) into a marriage with the royal heir instead.
Yes, it’s a tangled web indeed. And even with all that explanation we still don’t really have any confirmation as to what role Hawke is going to be playing in this film or how bikers and corrupt cops are going to be shoehorned into such a seemingly dated story. Could it be that Harris is going to be playing a grizzled old police chief and Jovovich the sleazy matriarch of a biker gang? Or perhaps the other way around? Shooting on this one is scheduled to start on August 19, so hopefully we won’t have to wait much longer to get a better idea of how it’s going to look.