Bruce Ramsay and Breaking Glass Pictures bring a modern day Hamlet direct to your living room via Amazon Instant video. Nominated for eight Leo Awards (winning best Costume Design) Hamlet is a must see for any fan of the classic tale.
The exceptional ensemble cast, led by Bruce (Hamlet) and Lara Gilchrist (Ophelia), set the stage for an evening of emotional upheaval in 1940’s postwar London. With a limited budget, and only three days to film, Bruce adapted Hamlet to take place within a gorgeous mansion he discovered in Vancouver. As the story unfolds, the house closes in around the characters creating a life of its own. When asked about the house Bruce said “It’s actually truly haunted. A highly publicized murder happened there in the 1920’s when it was owned by the millionaire owner and builder, and served as a VA hospital after the Second World War. Every person who works there refuses to spend the night alone. It’s quite chilling.”
In discussing Lara’s stunning portrayal of Ophelia Bruce goes on to mention (spoiler alert for those who aren’t familiar with the story): “Ophelia is amazing. I think it also helped her to have Hamlet in scenes where he usually doesn’t appear. In the play, Hamlet is off with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern when Ophelia goes mad. But I wanted Hamlet to be in the room, so her reaction and descent into madness was tactile, she sees the man who killed her dad and ruined her life, and she gets to wrap a scarf (her father’s) around Hamlet’s neck and take out her anger. She might have indeed killed him if Horatio doesn’t stop her. Because I believe in that moment (and playing the part in the moment myself) — that Hamlet would have let her kill him.”
This unique and contemporary adaptation removes all outside influence and focuses solely on the dysfunction hidden away behind closed doors. At the New York City premiere Bruce talked about adapting Hamlet for a modern audience:
Like any other director my hope was to bring something new to the piece. By shortening the entire play into a single evening, I wished to clearly mark out that such a succession of traumatic events (for Hamlet, losing his father, his mother’s love, his girlfriend’s companionship, coming upon his father’s ghost and learning of his uncle’s misdeed) – put all this together, and one can easily see why anyone might be driven to the brink of madness. In our most modern medical terms, one could argue that Hamlet was suffering from PTSD. Furthermore, my intention with the film, was to not only make the character of Hamlet accessible to everyone, but the entire play as well. … Putting Hamlet into scenes he normally would not appear, making his relationship with Ophelia openly sexual, giving some of Hamlet’s most famous lines for other characters to speak, was all a part of an effort to view the play through a newfound lens.
Bruce coaxes Hamlet off the page, away from the stage, and gives him a life on the screen for anyone to enjoy no matter their knowledge of Shakespeare. Join Hamlet as he becomes immersed in a night full of betrayal, love, loss, grief, revenge and murder. Watch Hamlet today on Amazon Instant video (here).
*Be sure to follow the Hamlet cast on Twitter: Peter Wingfield (Claudius), Stephen Lobo (Horatio), Haig Sutherland (Laertes), and John Cassini (Butler). Also please take a moment to like Hamlet on Facebook.
**New York City discussion notes published with permission of Bruce Ramsay**