British actor and playwright Steven Berkoff, whose credits include “A Clockwork Orange” and “Beverly Hills Cop,” has started a crowd-funding campaign with his production partners to get a theatrical release of his new film, “Shakespeare’s Heroes & Villains.”
Although his last major film outing was 2011’s “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” with Daniel Craig, Berkoff told Variety that he now plans to focus on the big screen.
He recently finished shooting two new films back to back: “Tell Tale Heart,” based on the Edgar Allen Poe short story, and “Shakespeare’s Heroes & Villains,” a big-screen version of a stage play he wrote called “Shakespeare’s Villains.” He has performed the one-man show worldwide since its London debut in 1998.
U.K.-based Red Rock Entertainment financed both films, but has not secured a distributor. Berkoff and the films’ director, Stephen Cookson (“Stanley A Man Of Variety”), launched the crowdfunding campaign on the LiveTree.com platform to get the Shakespeare film into cinemas.
The scope of “Shakespeare’s Heroes and Villains” has been expanded from the play to take in the Bard’s heroes, including Henry V, who were not in the stage version. “It was an idea I had in mind, having done the villains, to have another track and to make the film different from the play,” Berkoff said. “The performance, intensity and analytical elements of the play happened on stage, and we tried to find an interpretation we could commit to film.”
The script will be published by Bloomsbury as a resource for acting students and Shakespeare scholars, but the film will be pitched at arthouse moviegoers, Cookson said. Berkoff also hopes that the film will air on television.
Berkoff says film has become increasingly commercial, with less room for radical voices, and admits he “doesn’t see a great deal of hope in the movie world.” He does, however, want to focus on features for a while, including more adaptations of his own plays.