Bruce Dern, Anthony Michael Hall, Star in ‘King Lear’ Adaptation (EXCLUSIVE)

Dave McNary

Film Reporter@Variety_DMcNary
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REX SHUTTERSTOCKAPRIL 19, 2016 | 07:19PM PT

Bruce Dern, Anthony Michael Hall and Sean Astinare starring in “The Lears,” a comic adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” Variety has learned.

It’s the first in-house production for distributor NeoClassics Films and has started production in Malibu and other parts of Los Angeles. Aly Michalka, Victoria Smurfit and Nic Bishop are also starring.

Carl Bessai is directing from his own script. NeoClassics Films’ CEO Irwin Olian is producing in association with Bessai’s Raven West Films Ltd. NeoClassics will also serve as the film’s international sales agent.

 

 

“Carl’s script is a smart, modern day derivative of Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear,'” said Olian. “In the classic play, the old King wanted each of his three daughters to prove their love so that he could determine who was most worthy of his kingdom. In our modern spin, iconic architect Davenport Lear has created a family retreat – also to test the love of each of his children as he is contemplating his future.”

The script focuses on world-renowned cutting-edge architect Davenport Lear played by Dern. Nearing retirement, he summons his four dysfunctional children Glenn (Hall); twins Regan (Michalka) and Rory (James Hoare); Kent (Bishop); and Regan’s husband Tom Cornwall (Astin) to a weekend family retreat in one of his signature architectural creations.

When they hear the bombshell that he has decided to marry his personal assistant Diana (Smurfit) that Sunday, it sets off an explosive and humorous round of devious behavior and conflict as each of them jockeys for position, borne by self-interest, greed and jealousy. Rounding out the cast is Davenport’s driver and valet Tyler (Stephen Ellis); Diana’s daughter Delia (Ivy Matheson), and Kent’s hot date Natalie (Amy Argyle).

Bessai’s credits include “Bad City,” “Fathers and Sons,” “Sisters and Brothers,” “Mothers and Daughters” and “Normal.”

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 Director Carl Bessai and actress Ivy Matheson shooting a scene on the set  of 'The Lears', April 24, 2015 in Malibu, California.

Director Carl Bessai and actress Ivy Matheson shooting a scene on the set  of 'The Lears', April 24, 2015 in Malibu, California.

 Anthony Michael Hall and Bruce Dern star as Glenn and Davenport Lear in 'The Lears.' 

Anthony Michael Hall and Bruce Dern star as Glenn and Davenport Lear in 'The Lears.' 

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