Al Pacino is taking on Shakespeare again. After playing Shylock in 2004’s “The Merchant of Venice,” the Oscar winner is set to star as the title character in a new adaptation of the Bard’s “King Lear.” Michael Radford, who directed that version of “Venice” and received an Oscar nomination for “Il Postino,” is helming the new project.
“Lear is the one that everyone aims for. Al has been toying with the idea for a long time. There’s a difference between Shylock, who’s only in five scenes, and Lear, who is in every scene, pretty much,” Radford said. “It’s enormous. I think [Pacino] would like to have that kind of kudos because he’s a terrific actor.”
“Before, we had the passion and the desire, but we never had a start date. We all have the energy to do [King Lear] now. We’re creating, hopefully, an epic,” said producer Barry Navidi, who worked with Pacino and Radford on “The Merchant of Venice.” “Michael and Al are going to stick to the original poetry,” he said. “But a lot is to do with the delivery and the visuals. How Michael combines it and makes it more accessible, it becomes naturalistic rather than forced.”
Pacino’s next two projects are of the high-profile variety: Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” and Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” in which he’ll play the agent of Leonardo DiCaprio’s character.