Last year, The Night Of and Rogue One star Riz Ahmed was asked about his dream role during a Q&A on Twitter. “Hamlet,” he wrote back. “Obvious I know, but I love the play.” Now that the actor is a certifiable Emmy winner, he might get his chance on one of the biggest streaming platforms.
EW has confirmed that Netflix is in negotiations to buy a contemporary retelling of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, which Ahmed has been working on with a college buddy, screenwriter Mike Lesslie, who worked on the screenplays for Justin Kurtzel’s Macbeth and Assassin’s Creed.
The plan is for Ahmed to star as the tragic protagonist with Netflix financing and distributing. This take on Hamlet is set in modern-day London at a time of economic and political uncertainty, weaved together with themes of familial honor, moral duty, and dynastic corruption.
Jim Wilson, of films like Under the Skin and Attack the Block, will produce.
Ethan Hawke, Kenneth Branaugh, David Tennant, and Mark Rylance are among the actors who’ve portrayed Hamlet, but this new project would be another benchmark for more diverse casting in Hollywood. Oscar Isaac also tackled the role this past summer at New York’s Public Theater.
Ahmed won best actor in a limited series or movie at the Emmys earlier this year for The Night Of, making him the first man of South Asian descent to win an Emmy and the second Asian actor to do so. He has used his platform to boost social change, and earned himself a spot in Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential people of 2017.
Ahmed will soon join the Spider-Man-based movie Venom, starring Tom Hardy.
Deadline was the first to report the news.