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You can never have enough Richard III adaptations, especially with the type of talent signing up for a new one the BBC is working on. Benedict Cumberbatch is already on board, and this week, Judi Dench joined.
Cumberbatch signed on to play the title character back in April and will be directed by Dominic Cooke. Ben Power is writing the adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play.
Dench will star as Cecily, Duchess of York, notes Deadline. Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda) will star as Queen Margaret.
Richard III is actually the first part of the BBC’s ambitious plan to adapt Shakespeare’s War of the Roses plays, with Cooke and Power working on all three. Okonedo will also appear in all of them.
Henry VI will be split into two parts, with Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville appearing in both as the Duke of Gloucester, notes the BBC. Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine) will play the duke’s wife. Keeley Hawes and Tom Sturridge will also appear in the Henry films.
The BBC previously adapted Shakespeare’s Hollow Crown trilogy (Richard II, Henry IV, and Henry V) back in 2012 to great acclaim. Ben Whishaw and Simon Russell Beale both won BAFTAs for their performances.
Richard III and Henry VI will be produced by Neal Street Productions, Carnival Films/NBCU and Thirteen, which means they will likely air on PBS stations in the U.S. In the U.K., the films will be screened on BBC Two.
In other Cumberbatch news, the Sherlock star joined Warner Bros.’ Jungle Book: Origins this week.
image courtesy of INFphoto.com