Chloe Zhao to direct Hamnet, a fictionalised spin on Shakepeare’s life

Chloe Zhao directing Marvel's Eternals - she'll soon be doing Hamnet
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Chloe Zhao’s Hamnet will focus on Shakespeare’s wife coming to terms with their son’s death: more on the film here.

Nomadland filmmaker Chloe Zhao has reportedly decided on one of her future projects and it looks like she’s going full-on Shakespearean tragedy. Nope, the acclaimed director isn’t diving into an adaptation of the bard’s Macbeth, Hamlet or Romeo & Juliet but will instead be tackling Hamnet, a story that will look at the death of Shakespeare’s son, exploring the real tragedy through the eyes of his wife, Agnes.

The film is based on the historical fiction novel of the same name by Maggie O’Farrell who is working with Zhao to produce the script. Sam Mendes and Pippa Harris of Neal Street Productions are involved and Zhao is also partnering with Amblin to produce the project.

The news was broken by Deadlinewith the story making it clear that this hasn’t been confirmed as Zhao’s next project.

Whilst Zhao decided to take a break following the long production of her limply-received Marvel movie Eternals (which she is pictured directing), she was talking up a Dracula-featuring sci-fi vampire western movie that sounded interesting. It’s been a long while since we heard anything on that front though, so who knows what the status of that project is.

Hamnet though, sounds like a project that Zhao could excel with, given how magnificently she weaved together a tale of female grief and isolation in Nomadland. We haven’t read Hamnet, but we’re pretty sure grief and isolation might be key themes.

Following the mixed reception to her first huge studio project, rather than tackle another tentpole Dracula flick for Universal, it seems like an understandable move for Zhao to return to her roots with material that she feels at home with, working on a project where she can presumably exercise a much greater level of influence so her undoubted talents can shine through. We’ll bring you more on Zhao’s next move as we hear it.

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