Hopkins to play King Lear in movie adaptation

Anthony Hopkins has been confirmed as the latest actor to play King Lear in a big screen adaptation of Shakespeare's great tragedy.

American newcomer Josh Michael Stern has assembled an all-star cast for the ambitious film, which will start shooting in Britain or Ireland early next year .

Gwyneth Paltrow, Naomi Watts and Kiera Knightley will play the tragic king's three daughters, and director Stern insists there will be many more suitable big-name surprises in his blockbuster.

"It's going to be really good," she said. "The one thing that I'm staying away from is stunt casting, so there won't be the American comedian, but there will be some really great actors playing smaller roles that will make a lot of sense."

Stern also plans to stick to Shakespeare's dialogue in the film in a bid to make sure the movie is as authentic as possible.

I'm not very fond of the modern adaptations," he said. "It's pre-Roman, Celtic, very raw.

"It's a period in British history, from which ('Lord of The Rings' author) Tolkien took a lot of his inspiration, where there were thatched-roof roundhouses and fortresses."

Stern's new Lear will give Hopkins the chance to revisit a character that won him acclaim on stage - the Oscar winner played the role in revered playwright David Hare's 'King Lear' production at the National Theatre in London in the late 1980s.

The director adds: "Hopkins is thrilled."

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