Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 May 2015

Mendes to make Shakespeare TV films

Sam Mendes will direct Shakespeare films for the BBC
Sam Mendes will direct Shakespeare films for the BBC

Sam Mendes is joining forces with the BBC to bring four of Shakespeare's history plays to television.

The filmmaker, who won an Academy Award for Best Director in 1999 for American Beauty, said he "couldn't be more delighted" about making the films.

He said: "One of my earliest introductions to Shakespeare was watching the plays on TV, and it's terrific to have the opportunity to bring them to a new, wider audience."

The screen versions of Richard II, Henry IV part I and II, and Henry V will be shown on BBC Two.

Sam, who announced his separation from his wife Kate Winslet in March, is not the only Academy Award winner who will be working with the corporation.

Jane Campion, who won an Oscar in 1993 for the screenplay of The Piano, is making a drama series called Top Of The Lake - also for BBC Two.

Filming starts in New Zealand next year on the story, which sees a detective on the trail of a pregnant 12-year-old girl who has disappeared.

It was also announced today that playwright Sir David Hare, who has been Oscar nominated twice for his screenplays, will direct and write a new play for the BBC.

BBC's controller of drama Ben Stephenson said the corporation was "a broad church" that could "mix high art with the best of popular culture".

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