When it comes to Shakespeare's tragedies, King Lear never made the short list of personal favorites. Maybe it was Cordelia, one of the biggest doormats in dramatic history, or maybe a play about madness and aging isn't best served to high school students. But, as long as there are actors who want to sink their teeth into lines like, "As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods. They kill us for their sport", then the mad king will live on. The Guardian has now confirmed that Naomi Watts will be joining Keira Knightley and Gwyneth Paltrow as the 'daughters Lear' in the big-budgeted version of Shakespeare's classic play, also starring Anthony Hopkins.
The story of Lear centers on a mighty king dividing his estate among his three daughters: Cordelia (Knightley), Regan (Paltrow) and Goneril (Watts). When Cordeila is unable to blow enough smoke up the royal butt, she is disowned, and the lion's share of the throne goes to her sisters. But we all know about 'fatal flaws' in Shakespeare, and it turns out that Regan and Goneril are hardly the loving daughters they claimed to be.
The project was announced back in May at Cannes, with a projected budget of $35 million. Most of that is expected to go towards the epic battle sequences that occur when the kingdom descends into the family feud to end all feuds -- not to mention $35 million can buy an awful lot of tights.
King Lear is expected to start production early next year and should arrive in theaters in 2010.