Shakespeare's works get a musical makeover

LONDON — Mark Thomas of Elsinore Films is producing a 3-D musical “Hamlet” targeting the “Harry Potter” and “High School Musical” market.

The movie will be the first of six adaptations of William Shakespeare’s plays, based on musical versions created by U.K. theater company Shakespeare 4 Kidz.

British legit scribe John Godber is directing. Michael Cowan exec produces; he is co-managing director of Brighton-based production company Spice Factory and new sales and distribution house Stealth Media Group.

The other five pics in the series are “Macbeth,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Twelfth Night” and “The Tempest.”

Stealth has global distribution rights to the first three releases, which will be produced back to back over 18 months.

Some 70% of the $10 million budget for the initial three films is being provided by an L.A.-based private equity fund, while the remainder is from European backers. Lensing will take place in Canada and the U.K.

Alongside the movies, Elsinore will shoot TV show “Movie Quest — A Romeo 4 Juliet,” a public search to find two undiscovered young actors to play the lead parts of Romeo and Juliet.

“Hamlet” lends itself to a 3-D treatment. The producers hope to include a ghost that hovers in front of the aud’s eyes, cannon fire that flies into the auditorium and a sword fight that appears to happen all around viewers.

Thomas is currently producing “Three Days in Dublin,” starring Ray Winstone and Heather Graham.

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