Excellent news for Shakespeare fans! Popular series The Hollow Crown is getting a sequel, of sorts! The original four-part miniseries adapted four of Shakespeare’s history plays – Richard II, Henry IV, Part One, Henry IV, Part Two and Henry V – into a single chronological narrative. This second set of history plays – which doesn’t actually have a name yet – will feature adaptations of Richard III and Henry VI (filmed in two parts, instead of three).
These productions will reunite the creative team from Neal Street Productions, including director Sam Mendes, who were behind the original BAFTA-winning Hollow Crown films. Dominic Cooke, former Artistic Director of the Royal Court Theatre, will direct all three new installments.
“The critical and audience reaction to The Hollow Crown series set the bar high for Shakespeare on screen,” said executive producer Pippa Harris. “Neal Street is delighted to be making the concluding part of this great History cycle.”
The original Hollow Crown mini-series starred Ben Whishaw, Jeremy Irons and Tom Hiddleston as three of Shakespeare’s kings. Who might we see in the second set? Well, Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch for one:
We're delighted to be able to confirm that Benedict Cumberbatch will play Richard III in our second series of Shakespeare’s History plays.— BBC Two (@BBCTwo) April 6, 2014
Cumberbatch – apparently just like his Sherlock co-star Martin Freeman – will be taking on the role of Shakespeare’s doomed hunchback King Richard III. Apparently, between this and his on-stage Hamlet next summer, we’ll be seeing Cumberbatch run the gamut of Shakespeare heroes and villains over the next few years.
“I can’t wait to work with Dominic Cooke again to bring this complex, funny and dangerous character to life,” Cumberbatch said in a statement.
No news on who will play King Henry VI – or any of the other notable characters in that particular trilogy of plays –yet, though BBC Two says that will be “announced in due course”. However, with the track record this particular casting department has already displayed, it seems likely that we can expect great things. (I personally have a loooong list of fabulous ladies I’d like to see play Margaret of Anjou, just saying.)
This new slate of Hollow Crown films is expected to screen in 2016.
Excited about it yet?