BBC Two and production company Playground have announced that Anthony Hopkins (The Dresser, Nixon, Silence of the Lambs) and Emma Thompson (The Children Act, The Remains of the Day, Sense and Sensibility) are set to lead the cast of a star-studded adaptation of William Shakespeare’s King Lear from BAFTA-winning director Richard Eyre (The Dresser, Notes on a Scandal).
Set in the fictional present, King Lear sees Anthony Hopkins as the eponymous ruler, presiding over a totalitarian military dictatorship in England. Emma Thompson stars as his oldest daughter Goneril, with Emily Watson (Theory of Everything, Genius) as his middle daughter Regan and Florence Pugh (Lady Macbeth, Marcella) as Cordelia, the youngest of Lear’s children.
Jim Broadbent (Iris, Game of Thrones) takes the role of the Earl of Gloucester, Andrew Scott (Sherlock, The Hollow Crown) as his loyal son Edgar and John Macmillan (Hanna, Chewing Gum) as his illegitimate son Edmund. Jim Carter (Downton Abbey, Cranford) plays the Earl of Kent, with Christopher Eccleston (The Leftovers, Thor: The Dark World) as Oswald, Tobias Menzies (Outlander, The Terror) as the Duke of Cornwall, Anthony Calf (New Tricks, Riviera) as the Duke of Albany and Karl Johnson (Wittgenstein, Rome) as Lear’s loyal jester the Fool.
“It is a tribute to the great Richard Eyre that we have brought together such a remarkable cast. The film is a testament to the BBC’s on-going commitment to the single drama, and we are very appreciative of their continued support,” said executive producers Colin Callender and Sonia Friedman. “We are particularly excited to be working with Amazon and their support for the film reflects their emergence as a leading global brand of top quality drama.”
King Lear will premiere on BBC Two in the UK in 2018.