Ron Nyswaner was a writer, director, and producer whose most renowned accomplishment was penning the Oscar-winning film "Philadelphia" (1993). A successful role model for ambitious gay men everywhere,...
Catherine Hardwicke will direct and Emile Hirsch will star in a contemporary adaptation of Hamlet, according to media reports today.
Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen will produce while Oscar-nominated screenwriter Ron Nyswaner will adapt the Bard's oedipal drama.
The film will be a modern-day supernatural thriller set in a small East Coast liberal arts college where Hamlet's father is the president, reports the Hollywood Insider blog. The story will begin with Hamlet returning home for his father's funeral, only to learn that his uncle, who has taken over his father's post, is responsible for his father's murder.
Hirsch worked with Jinks and Cohen on Milk and conceived the modern take on Shakespeare's play, says Screen. Hardwicke previously directed Hirsch in Lords of Dogtown.
"Hamlet was in college when the story takes place, yet there hasn't been a movie version with an appropriately-aged actor playing the role," Jinks and Cohen said. "Our goal is to present the story as a suspense thriller. We want to make it exciting and accessible for an audience today."
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The Painted Veil is based on W. Somerset Maugham’s 1925 novel about British colonialism in China. The film's cohesion is largely helped by a user-friendly script from Ron Nyswaner (Philadelphia) who tackles amorphous movie-unfriendly themes like emotional longing. We meet Walter Fane (Edward Norton) a lovesick middle-class bacteriologist who spots Kitty (Naomi Watts) an upper-class socialite approaching the upper limits of marrying age at a party. Walter not smooth with women woos Kitty with his intensity and persuades her to join him in cholera-stricken China. With a wandering eye Kitty is soon caught in a lusty affair with a local British diplomat Charlie Townsend (Liev Schreiber) but Walter eventually forgives her but imprisons her in the desolate green south China countryside. The film's crucial problem is its setting of a Western-centric love story on top of a palette of Chinese human death and disease albeit framed beautifully and exotically. Norton and Watts take producers' credits as well. The actor pushed for years to get The Painted Veil made painstakingly and authentically co-produced with the China Film Board. These facts hint at the commitment and intelligence Oscar nominees Norton and Watts bring. Norton always impresses and surprises. Each role in his resume is tasty in its own way a wholly new creation and never derivative. In Norton's previous film The Illusionist he was a similarly powerful opaque character from a far away time and place. Although sometimes seeming she’s on autopilot Watts is also brilliantly underrated as the conflicted Kitty who doesn't love the man she married even though he loves her as much as she loves herself. Her tricky darting eyes mixed with uneasy body language tells us we don't know what to expect other than that she'll probably sabotage herself. Toby Jones--who played Truman Capote to critics' acclaim in Infamous--does a provocative turn as the mysterious opium-smoking neighbor. The Painted Veil falls short of greatness when the second half crumbles into laziness right when the emotional impact should be the strongest. Director John Curran is relatively untested ( We Don't Live Here Anymore) especially with difficult material and he stumbles a bit in this ambitious drama. Veil's storytelling meanders with a few unnecessary scenes. Lame mini-montages lapse into TV movie territory. Attention to detail however (minus Norton's highlighted hair) is superb. Four exquisite wisely picked Chinese locations were used in concert with local actors and crew to produce an internationally representative work of Chinese/American art. Interior sets are post-WWI prudish and upper-class underlying the movie's "painted " hidden ideas. Old-world rickshaws and water systems are true to the time. The haunting soundtrack feels postmodern and contemporary. But overall like last year's disappointing Memoirs of a Geisha the mish-mash of American and Asian story themes doesn't quite work.
Penned the screenplay for "The Painted Veil" starring Edward Norton and Naomi Watts; earned an Independent Spirit Award Nomination for Best Screenplay
Feature directorial debut, "Prince of Pennsylvania"
Co-produced "Star Maps," which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival
First feature screenplay produced, "Smithereens"
Penned the romance "Mrs. Soffel"
Co-wrote the screenplay for "Gross Anatomy"
Wrote the screenplay for the AIDS-themed drama "Philadelphia"; received Oscar and Golden Globe nominations
Wrote the screenplay for the critically acclaimed, "Soldier's Girl," which tells the true story of the murder of Pfc. Barry Winchell
Ron Nyswaner was a writer, director, and producer whose most renowned accomplishment was penning the Oscar-winning film "Philadelphia" (1993). A successful role model for ambitious gay men everywhere, Nyswaner's sexual orientation only enhanced his career, as he enjoyed decades of success writing for film, TV, stage, and even book shelves, following the release of his 2004 memoir of near self-destruction, <i>Blue Days, Black Nights</i>. An activist and in-demand speaker for gay rights and AIDS causes, he also devoted considerable time to the independent film community, working with the Sundance and Woodstock Film Festivals.