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.”