Marking the third Shakespeare-derived project of the season, Johnny Depp's production company is developing a new television series inspired by the greatest works of William Shakespeare.
Run by Depp's sister Christi Dembrowski, Infinitum Nihil will partner with leading Scandinavian producer Yellow Bird Productions and Emmy-winning writer-producer Tom Fontana on the untitled project. Written by young scribe Randall Fontana—surprisingly, no relation to Tom—the series would present a contemporary spin on Shakespeare's most notable plays by building on the Bard's existing characters and plots.
Currently in production on Depp's next mega-successful franchise The Lone Ranger, Infinitum Nil's other feature credits include Hugo, Dark Shadows, and The Rum Diary. The company is also working on a period drama for Lifetime about the surprisingly eventful life of the founder of The Hollywood Reporter, William Wilkerson.
Specializing in television and movie adaptations of Scandinavian crime literature, Yellow Bird is best known for producing three Swedish films based on Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy of novels: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest, all released in 2009.
The other projects attempting to translate Shakespeare for a 21st century audience are in development at FOX and ABC. Described as a sophisticated take on Hamlet, America's Son is a political drama/thriller set in Washington, DC, while ABC's Westside is a modern-day adaptation of West Side Story, which was a musical retelling of Romeo & Juliet.
While it's an undisputable fact that William Shakespeare has influenced virtually all forms of storytelling, it's curious that so many projects based directly on his works would be sold this year. As vague as the description is, this one sounds like it would include many of the Bard's characters and stories as part of a shared universe, like NBC's Grimm and ABC's Once Upon A Time do with fairy tales.
Does that idea interest the Shakespeare fans out there?