It’s been a little while since we’ve seen a teen movie adaptation of a William Shakespeare play, but get ready to party like it’s the year 2000, because a new one is in development at Amazon Studios.
John McPhail, who directed the delightful Christmas-themed zombie musical Anna and the Apocalypse, is keeping his musical streak alive: he’s attached to direct a new film musical that’s inspired by Shakespeare’s Macbeth, but with young adult-centric approach.
Details about the Lady Macbeth YA musical are under lock and key, but according to The Hollywood Reporter, “the story is said to center on a teenage girl who grapples with her own morality as she contends with the dreadful consequences of her ambition.”
For those of you who might have slept through that stretch of high school English class, Macbeth is about a Scottish general who encounters three witches who lay out a prophesy that he will become the king. He quickly begins murdering his way up the ladder, all while his wife, the conniving Lady Macbeth, who’s even more ambitious than her husband, whispers tactics into his ear. Eventually, the general kills his way onto the throne but is wracked by guilt over his actions. The story has been adapted tons of times for film and television over the years: Akira Kurosawa’s 1957 movie Throne of Blood is one famous adaptation, and more recently, you can see the character archetypes clearly on display in Netflix’s House of Cards.
Up-and-coming screenwriter S.J. Inwards (the upcoming Amblin movie Her Better Self) is writing the script, while Channing Tatum (Magic Mike) and his producing partner Reid Carolin (Magic Mike XXL) are set to serve as two of the film’s producers. Also among the producers is Scooter Braun, who is probably still best known as the guy who “discovered” Justin Bieber, but who has since branched out to produce things like the FXX comedy series Dave, CBS’s Scorpion, Project Runway, and more.
Shakespeare adaptations focusing on teenagers were all the rage at the turn of this century. 10 Things I Hate About You was a riff on The Taming of the Shrew, O was based on Othello, Get Over It was loosely based in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, She’s the Man was a play on Twelfth Night, and even the Disney Channel got in on the action with Motocrossed, another Twelfth Night-inspired movie. And don’t forget about 1996’s Romeo + Juliet, Baz Luhrmann’s modern retelling of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy. There’s something about the subcultures of youth that works really well for Shakespeare adaptations, and I’m excited to see how McPhail uses Macbeth as a springboard for this new musical.
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