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'The Departed' Scribe William Monahan To Write & Direct Adaptation Of 'Becket'

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist November 12, 2010 at 8:03AM

With his directorial debut "London Boulevard" set to hit theaters in the UK in a couple of weeks (and on this side of the ocean in the new year), writer and director William Monahan is plotting his next film.
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With his directorial debut "London Boulevard" set to hit theaters in the UK in a couple of weeks (and on this side of the ocean in the new year), writer and director William Monahan is plotting his next film.

Deadline reports that the celebrated scribe and newbie director will be tackling an adaptation of the Jean Anouilh play "Becket." It tells the tale of the "friendship and estrangement between King Henry II and the Archbishop of Canterbury" and more notably was adapted into a highly acclaimed 1964 film starring Peter O'Toole, Richard Burton and John Gielgud that earned 12 Oscar nominations and earned a win for Edward Anhalt for Best Screenplay.

If you think this is going to be some kind of jacked up modern take with more f-bombs, guess again. Monahan will be basing his screenplay on the play and plans to try and explore more deeply the world presented in Anouilh's work telling Deadline, "For me, it's a chance to take on one of the greatest stories in our civilization, a double tragedy with two heroes, each of them paradoxical, each of them brilliant, each of them making mistakes that lead to their undoing. The world of the Plantagenets was very rich and we'll open the play up into that world and go into the relationships of the Angevin court more than the 1964 film was able to do."

Monahan is producing the project as well along with Smuggler Films and putting together financing now. If everything comes together as it should, pre-production will begin in the UK next spring and we would imagine it will garner interest from major acting talent. It's an actor's showcase and there's no reason why it shouldn't be strong awards season fare. That said, it still remains to be proven if Monahan is worth his salt behind the camera; the buzz behind "London Boulevard" has not been strong. You can check out the trailer for the 1964 film below.

This article is related to: Films, Becket, William Monahan