The Actors Hall of Fame is launching film and television productions for China starting with William Shakespeare’s plays, Variety has learned exclusively.
The initiative is launching with feature versions of “Romeo and Juliet” and a 3D animated feature of “A Midsummer’s Night Dream.” It’s in pre-production on both projects.
“We are in talks with a number of potential partners here in the U.S. and China, to expand the 150 year history of Shakespeare in China,” said Rusty Citron, president of the foundation. “Today, the Chinese people can not only read Shakespeare in English and Chinese, but can also enjoy his plays on stage. Our goal is to expand that experience to the big screen.”
The Actors Hall of Fame will also provide education support in schools through its partnership with AugThat, a mobile streaming company using Augmented Reality programs delivered directly to Smartphones and tablets.
The Chinese translations of Shakespeare, both in print and on stage, were first published in the early 20th Century and staged in 1910s. “Over the next 5 years our plan is to introduce Shakespeare’s most interesting and iconic characters and stories, which are already popular and familiar to the Chinese audience,” Citron said.
The Actors Hall of Fame was established in 2008 with the support of HBO, Universal Pictures, Microsoft, MGM, Lionsgate and Google to honor career achievements, as well as generate awareness and resources to restore and support dramatic arts education programs. It launched development earlier this year of “Our American Cousin” as a miniseries and “The Life of Laura Keene” as a movie.
Its content includes targeted programs on the foundation’s two streaming channels, the Shakespeare Channel and the Actors Channel, both premiering on Roku.