Producer David Parfitt is talking about “two or three people” for the role of Hamlet in upcoming Shakespeare adaptation Hamlet, Prince Of Wales.
The feature film is in development, and will be produced by Parfitt’s UK firm Trademark Films.
“Everything is cast-dependent” and depends on “if we can find that key piece of talent,” Parfitt told Screen in Doha, where he is attending the Qumra incubator as a master. “The twist to our Hamlet development is that it’s Hamlet set within the UK. It’s Hamlet, Prince-of- Wales, set in the future. Politics have collapsed, the monarchy have taken over again.”
The film is written by Tony Cronin and Jason Wulfsohn; no director is currently attached.
Parfitt also teased a six-hour drama series he has had commissioned for a streaming company, which is being written at the moment and will likely be announced in the summer. He also has “a couple of films that are bubling under that are waiting for cast.”
Earlier in the day the producer revealed he is reuniting with The Father producer Philippe Carcassonne on a new film, “hopefully over the next year or so.”
Last week Sunderland native Parfitt was named as chair of North East Screen, the agency dedicated to the development and championing of the screen sectors from the north east region of England (previously known as Northern Film and Media).
“To build an industry in the northeast – we know what’s there in terms of location and creative talent; but there’s never been an infrastructure there to hold that together,” said Parfitt.
“The thing we’re trying to do is to say ‘come back’,” said Parfitt of northeast film talent who have left the region to work elsewhere. FulwellCain Studios will be a joint venture between Fulwell73 Productions and Cain International. Parfitt advocated for the Pallion shipyard site, which is “a five-minute walk” from the centre of Sunderland. He advocated for the Pallion shipyard site, which is “a five-minute walk” to the centre of Sunderland.
There are “fabulous locations on the doorstep” in the northeast, said the producer; the aim is to build a permanent home that provides access to them. He said that
Harry Potter[Fulwell73]and other major films have been there. “But they just descend and do their stuff then head off again. What I want is the core to be there so we can really do proper stuff.”
MasterclassParfitt gave a two-hour masterclass session to the assembled industry in Doha, recalling memories from a career that started as an associate producer on 1989’s Henry V
, directed by and starring his close friend Kenneth Branagh.
Parfitt discussed working with Harvey Weinstein, who is currently serving a 23-year sentence handed down by a New York court in 2020 for third-degree rape and sexual assault; and was recently convicted of rape in Los Angeles and sentenced to a further 16 years.It was his experience on Simon Curtis’ 2011 My Week With Marilyn
that dissuaded Parfitt from ever working with Weinstein again. “We all know the stories about Harvey, and why he is in jail. Parfitt said that his worst experiences were mostly in the cutting room. “He didn’t know when to stop, he believed everything could be fixed in the cutting room.
It almost ended my career as a producer. My Week with Marilyn. We were managing three cutting rooms, of which two had nothing to do. He was filming stuff for the film without me or the director. I thought it would be impossible to make another film. Parfitt stated that I was convinced I wouldn’t make another film.It had been a crazy experience and he had lost it by then.
Winesstein was the catalyst that brought Shakespeare in Love from a pre-production rut. Julia Roberts was originally attached to the role of the female lead. Parfitt also approved Shakespeare’s choice. The actress wanted Daniel Day-Lewis to play the role. She wouldn’t approve any other options, including Ralph Fiennes and Colin Firth. With Roberts and producer Edward Zwick on pay-as-you-play deals ahead of production, $20m had already been spent on the project.
realised that no studio would produce it; he went to Universal direct, and personally guaranteed the money to them,” said Parfitt. “He made films through the Disney deal at Miramax, but he personally guaranteed that we would get money back.”Parfitt recalled “the background stuff” being the most challenging on Branagh’s 1993 Shakespeare adaptation
Much Ado About Nothing[Weinstein].[Universal’s]”The central shoot went incredibly smoothly. Everything was about managing other people. Keanu Reeves was a great baddie. He was driving around
in a small car until I received a message from his agent. He didn’t have a driver’s license. “It was a long time ago; I probably wouldn’t do that now, I’d send him a driver.” Parfitt laughed. “It was a long time ago; I probably wouldn’t do that now, I’d send him a driver.”Parfitt has worked with many emerging directors, from producing Branagh’s first films in the late 1980s and early 1990s; through The Father
, a directorial debut for Florian Zeller; to [off set]Black Dog
on which he is executive producer – the first film from
Screen UK-Ireland 2022 Star of Tomorrow George Jaques, a road movie about two teenage boys from different London backgrounds, “You surround yourself with the absolute best people,” said Parfitt. “We tell studios and financiers to not worry about you being a first-time filmmaker – we will give your best cinematographer and best designer. It’s about teamwork – providing you surround yourself with the best, you’re protected.”Qumra continues with a masterclass from The Father co-writer Christopher Hampton tomorrow; the event runs in-person until March 15, and online from March 19-21.Lynne Ramsay updates on
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