18 July 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network
Paul Mescal & Jessie Buckley to star in Oscar-winner Chloé Zhao’s adaptation of Hamnet
30 Jan 2024 : Luke Shanahan
Paul Mescal and Jessie Buckley
Paul Mescal and Jessie Buckley are set to star in director Chloé Zhao’s film adaptation of Hamnet, from Northern Irish writer Maggie O’Farrell’s novel of the same. Following rumours of the Irish actors’ casting, Mescal recently confirmed his and Buckley’s involvement in the project.

Paul Mescal (All of Us Strangers) and Jessie Buckley (Fingernails) will star as a young William and Agnes Shakespeare in an adaptation of Northern Irish writer Maggie O’Farrell’s novel Hamnet. The adaptation is being directed by Oscar-winner Chloé Zhao (Nomadland). This is the second time Mescal and Buckley have appeared in the same film, the first being Maggie Gyllenhaal’s The Lost Daughter. This is, however, the first instance of them sharing the screen as they did not have any scenes together in the Gyllenhaal-directed film.

Hamnet follows the story of Agnes, the wife of William Shakespeare, as she struggles to come to terms with the loss of her only son, Hamnet. The story acts as a backdrop to the creation of Shakespeare's most famous play, Hamlet.

When asked in an interview with Vogue about starring alongside Buckley in Zhao’s next film, Mescal said:

“That book - it’s just devastating. I can’t wait. If I told a younger version of myself that this would be [shooting] this year, I wouldn’t believe it. I’ve obviously been in a film with Jessie before but we’ve never shared the screen or a working process together. I think she’s one of our present-day greats. And Chloé is somebody I can’t wait to get in the weeds with, and get into the heads of those characters.”

O’Farrell and Zhao are co-writing the adapted screenplay. Liza Marshall (Hera Pictures), and Neal Street’s Pippa Harris and Sam Mendes (1917) are producing the film with Amblin. Nic Gonda is executive producing for Book of Shadows. Jeb Brody, Amblin’s president of production, and Mia Maniscalco, SVP Creative Affairs, will oversee the project on behalf of the studio.

O’Farrell’s Hamnet won the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Fiction Prize at the 2020 National Book Critics Circle Awards. The novel was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize and longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.

Production on Hamnet is currently set to begin in late April.

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