Thursday, March 06, 2008

Hamlet 2: 2008's delightful & weird indie-sensation?

I'm not really sure what's going on the picture I've posted above, but it's one of the only film stills I can find for the upcoming film Hamlet 2.

If you haven't heard of Hamlet 2, then by looking at this image you can tell that the idea of Hamlet 2 is not some sick deranged thought of Kenneth Branagh or Mel Gibson. And no, it's not even a modern day Shakespeare retelling (think Hamlet with Ethan Hawke, She's The Man, or 10 Things I Hate About You).

No, it's a whole different animal. Hamlet 2 is already carrying that "weird indie vibe" that characterized recent films like Little Miss Sunshine and Juno.

Focus pictures purchased the rights to a little film called "Hamlet 2" at Sundance this past year for $10 million dollars (just a half million shy of the high price that Little Miss Sunshine received).

Hamlet 2 tells the story of a failed actor (Steve Coogan) who ends up getting a job at an Arizona highschool as a theater teacher at a school with practicly no theater budget. Catherine Keener play's Coogan's wife and David Arquette plays the roomie who helps pay the bills.

As a theater teacher Coogan's character apparently get's very creative (I read one place that they do a stage rendition of Erin Brokovich). He also meets Elisabeth Shue (who took the role originally listed in the script as "has been movie actress") who revitalizes his creative juices. And somehow this all leads to the school putting on a stage production of play (which can only be disasterous) called Hamlet 2, written by Coogan's character.
Despite how wierd this sounds, I can't help but wonder whether or not this film, like similarly quirky projects (Juno, Little Miss Sunshine, and Lars and The Real Girl) will at least be able to land itself an original screenplay nod this next year. Obviously, Focus Features saw something good in this film, and it sounds like it already is following in the path of similar low-budget hits.

Also, interesting to note, 3 of the 5 original screenplay nominees this past year were females (Diablo Cody, Nancy Oliver, and Tamara Jenkins). Does a woman screenplay writer have an advantage, especially if writing quirky comedy? If so, Pam Brady (who notably has lended her creative writing skills to Matt Parker and Trey Stone in their work with the South Park TV series and movie) might just be able to get an Oscar nod with a film, who's title I can hardly believe is Hamlet 2.


Glenn Dunks said...

There are far more stories about movies picked up at festivals and then leading to absolutely nothing.

Although this sounds a lot like a recent Australian TV show called Summer Heights High where a drama teacher called Greg Gregson (Mr G) puts on outrageous musicals like Tsunamarama - the story of the Indian Ocean tsunami set to the music of Bananarama.

A quick google will bring it all up.

Jeff Reed said...

got a lot of respect for Focus Features. Honestly, can't think of a movie I've seen of theirs that sucked. Well, maybe there are some... I've just never seen them!

Glenn Dunks said...

I tell ya, one of the oddest sights I've seen at a cinema was seeing the Focus logo on screen before The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake in '03. For some reason they distributed it internationally and have done with a few other horror titles, if I'm not mistaken.