Academy Award winner Al Pacino is taking a Shakespearean turn as King Lear in the upcoming film of the same name. Pacino will star in the title role of the troubled king who deals with political and personal turmoil while trying to find a successor to his throne. King Lear will be directed by Michael Radford, whom Pacino previously worked with on the film The Merchant of Venice in 2004. According to Variety, Radford has also written the screenplay for Lear, which is being produced by Barry Navidi.
Al Pacino has played many Shakespearean characters, but he’s never stepped into the shoes of King Lear until now. Here is a little insight into the life of the king.
He is an aging monarch who selects his successor by parsing his kingdom in three parts, ruled by his trio of daughters. Two of them are scheming connivers who flatter their father, while the one loving daughter, Cordelia, refuses to play that game and is exiled. The king ultimately loses everything.
Pacino had been offered the role in the film several times before, but turned it down because he didn’t feel ready. If he agreed to play the character, he wanted everything to be right. According to producer Barry Navidi, “He’s ready now.”
King Lear will begin shooting later this year in Europe, and is going to be financed out of the U.K. and Northern Ireland. A few notable actors who have also played King Lear include Sir Laurence Olivier, Orson Welles, and Paul Scoffield.
What do you think of Pacino trading in his gun for a crown? Do you think he can pull off some of Shakespeare’s finest material?