Internet Shakespeare Editions

Shakespeare in Performance: Film

Hamlet (2000, Michael Almereyda)

Release LocationsUSA
DirectorMichael Almereyda
MediumColor video
Length2 hrs, 3 mins
Play ConnectionsHamlet (interpretation)
SettingModern New York corporate setting


Both handicapped and liberated by its small budget, the filmmakers reveal some highly creative, yet decidedly low tech ways to adapt the text to the film's modern day setting. The kingdom of Denmark is updated to Denmark Corporation, with Claudius as its CEO. Hamlet is a disenfranchised grunge kid with a fascination for film, which in turn allows for multiple layers of meaning to be embedded into scenes by running additional video in the background, or by playing back some of Hamlet's key soliloquies on film. Coupled with vertiginous skyscraper sets, this film is as much about watching and being watched as it is about destiny and choice. Unfortunately, not everything in this film works (and the gravedigger's scene was cut entirely because they lacked funds to reshoot it), but with repeated viewings the layers of this film begin to peel back, and the parts that do work are innovative and fascinating.

Description by Tanya Gough. Cited by permission. — Added 2008-11-14

Cast Overview

FortinbrasCasey Affleck
OsricPaul Bartel
HoratioKarl Geary
HamletEthan Hawke
Blockbuster ClerkBernadette Jurkowski
ClaudiusKyle MacLachlan
Player KingRobert MacNeil
MarcellusPaula Malcomson
Claudius' BodyguardJohn Martin
PoloniusBill Murray
BernardoRome Neal
LaertesLiev Schreiber
GhostSam Shepard
King Hamlet/GhostSam Shepard
OpheliaJulia Stiles
GuildensternDechen Thurman
PriestRobert Thurman
GertrudeDiane Venora
GravediggerJeffrey Wright
RosencrantzSteve Zahn

Production Team and Crew Overview

DirectorMichael Almereyda
Executive ProducerJason Blum
ProducerAndrew Fierberg
Line ProducerCallum Greene
ProducerAmy Hobby
Executive ProducerJohn Sloss
Production DesignerGideon Ponte
EditorKristina Bodem
Flight CaptainTim Blake Nelson
Screen AdaptationMichael Almereyda
Production ManagerAnthony Katagas
Wardrobe DesignerMarco Cattoretti
Wardrobe DesignerLuca Mosca
MusicCarter Burwell
Music SupervisorBeth Amy Rosenblatt
Director of PhotographyJohn deBorman
Director of PhotographyJim Deneault
Director of PhotographyJohn Herron
Post Production SupervisorJennifer Lane

Production information courtesy of: Tanya Gough