Bruce Dern, Anthony Michael Hall to Star in ‘King Lear’ Adaptation (EXCLUSIVE)

Anthony Michael Hall Bruce Dern
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Bruce Dern, Anthony Michael Hall and Sean Astin are starring in “The Lears,” a comic adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” Variety has learned.

It’s the first in-house production for distributor NeoClassics Films and has started production in Malibu and other parts of Los Angeles. Aly Michalka, Victoria Smurfit and Nic Bishop are also starring.

Carl Bessai is directing from his own script. NeoClassics Films’ CEO Irwin Olian is producing in association with Bessai’s Raven West Films Ltd. NeoClassics will also serve as the film’s international sales agent.

“Carl’s script is a smart, modern day derivative of Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear,'” said Olian. “In the classic play, the old King wanted each of his three daughters to prove their love so that he could determine who was most worthy of his kingdom. In our modern spin, iconic architect Davenport Lear has created a family retreat – also to test the love of each of his children as he is contemplating his future.”

The script focuses on world-renowned cutting-edge architect Davenport Lear played by Dern. Nearing retirement, he summons his four dysfunctional children Glenn (Hall); twins Regan (Michalka) and Rory (James Hoare); Kent (Bishop); and Regan’s husband Tom Cornwall (Astin) to a weekend family retreat in one of his signature architectural creations.

When they hear the bombshell that he has decided to marry his personal assistant Diana (Smurfit) that Sunday, it sets off an explosive and humorous round of devious behavior and conflict as each of them jockeys for position, borne by self-interest, greed and jealousy. Rounding out the cast is Davenport’s driver and valet Tyler (Stephen Ellis); Diana’s daughter Delia (Ivy Matheson), and Kent’s hot date Natalie (Amy Argyle).

Bessai’s credits include “Bad City,” “Fathers and Sons,” “Sisters and Brothers,” “Mothers and Daughters” and “Normal.”

Olian previously worked from ICM and as a senior attorney for Warner Bros. NeoClassics has released “The Hedgehog,” “L’Affaire Farewell,” “Moscow” and “Captain Abu Raed,” winner of 2008 Sundance World Cinema Audience Award.

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  1. Elizabeth Kesterson says:

    Hollywood fails women again. In a show originally starring three daughters, three men take their place. Now, you might mention the one female child, but let me assure you, when you advertise the man playing her husband as starring in the show, you’re telling me that the three younger women in the show are unimportant. I love Shakespeare. I love creativity. Heck, I really like Anthony Michael Hall! I can’t wait to see the production and I thoroughly hope that I won’t be disappointed by the unnecessary lack of female representation in a show in which it very easily could — and should — have been there.

  2. Berke Zane says:

    Was hoping comedy a la History Of The World as opposed to updated contemporary. Gues they have to appeal to those that don’t do 17th century hijinks.

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