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HAMLET summer preview

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STARRING ETHAN HAWKE, BILL MURRAY, DIANE VENORA, KYLE MACLACHLAN, JULIA STILES, LIEV SCHREIBER DIRECTED BY MICHAEL ALMEREYDA

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? The Dane’s first screen appearance of the millennium got a warm welcome at Sundance.

BUZZ-O-METER 5

Olivier, Burton, Branagh, Fiennes…Hawke? Even he was skeptical about starring in this contemporary take on the oft-adapted Shakespearean tragedy. ”Everyone told me not to do this…but the problem is someday you’ll be dead. And to be honest, what the f—?” Almereyda (Nadja), working with a $2 million budget, struggled a bit more with the to-adapt-or-not-to-adapt question. ”It had been done so many times, but then I realized no one had done a version with a Hamlet under 30,” says the director, who turned Denmark into Manhattan’s Denmark Corp. ”We didn’t have to submit to this Masterpiece Theatre tradition of men in tights,” he says. Of course, to open or not to open amidst the sound and fury of summer…that was the question. ”It’s Miramax’s idea of counterprogramming,” laughs Almereyda. ”At least the kids in high school studying for the English final will enjoy it.” (May 12)

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