• Sunday, June 23, 2024


Focus Features buys international rights to Riz Ahmed’s ‘Hamlet’

Hamlet reunites Ahmed with writer-director Aneil Karia after the Oscar win for The Long Goodbye.

Riz Ahmed (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Mohnish Singh

Focus Features has bought international rights to Hamlet, a modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic play of the same name.

The film stars Riz Ahmed in the lead role, alongside Morfydd and Joe Alwyn.

WME Independent and CAA are co-repping North American rights, while WME handles international sales.

Hamlet reunites Ahmed with writer-director Aneil Karia after the Oscar win for The Long Goodbye.

The film, which wrapped up filming at the end of last year, stars Ahmed as Hamlet, haunted by his father’s ghost and driven to increasingly unstable heights. Moving from elite London to the city’s underground, from Hindu temples to homeless tent cities, he goes to rash and violent lengths to avenge his father’s murder, ultimately questioning his own role in the family’s corruption and who he has become.

“This is a Hamlet about race, mental health, and inequality, which asks if setting things right means setting fire to the old order. Our Hamlet is an outsider in a wealthy British Indian family, who starts to question his relatives’ morality and his own sanity after encountering his father’s ghost. Hamlet’s bloody quest for revenge against his father’s killer will be told with a boldness and urgency that grabs hold of audiences and won’t let go,” Ahmed and Karia had earlier said in a statement.

They continued: “We want to continue what we started with The Long Goodbye, in telling a story that is both totally grounded and authentic but then pushes into action, thriller, genre, and poetry.  We’ve both felt on the outside of Shakespeare, but as South Asians also deeply connect to what these stories are about – themes like family, honor, and duty.  So, our aim is to bring Hamlet to life by setting it in our own community.  We want to crack this timeless story open for a wider audience – with a diverse cast, a contemporary London setting, and by injecting classical verse with the energy of rap, a genre which we have both worked in for years.”

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