Monday, October 30, 2006

Haunting Hamlet Shot For Halloween

Halloween 2006 heralds ghostly goings on as a supernatural thriller version of Shakespeare's seminal work, Hamlet (, completes filming in time for a January 2007 release. Focusing on the character of the ghost as a psychopathic spirit behind all the killings, the feature film is directed by Alexander Fodor and produced by music industry-based Paul Allan-Slade, starring Wilson Belchambers in the eponymous role.

Shot throughout summer 2006 at the Gate Studio in London and on location in Southend on Sea, Hamlet has now reached rush edit stage and is going into sound treatment and musical composition.

Paul Allan-Slade, producer, says: "Hamlet is a ghost story and yet, incredibly, no one has ever told it as one. In Fodor's Hamlet, emphasis is put on the nightmarish ether of the play, setting it in a surrealistic no-man's land. The members of the court are painted as scheming, back stabbing and vicious personas."

Paul continues: "This is a court put together by the maniacal Hamlet the elder (the ghost) and it is an environment that, even after his death, he controls by using children as his mediums to contact the physical world.

This could only be done with film, where atmospheric music and sound effects create the subconscious messages to the viewers."

Rather than following schoolbook definitions of the characters, Fodor's versions have a contemporary twist. The traditionally weak Ophelia is now dominated by her elder sister, Polonia (normally a male comic role), who supplies her with addictive drugs to cement that control. Hamlet's father, the ghost (normally an heroic victim), is now an evil psychopath, manipulating his own son to gain brutal revenge on his murderer, Claudius, without any concern for the eventual fate of his own son.

Lydia Piechowiak, who plays Polonia, says: "It's not often you get to play the part of a doddering old man and even less likely that you get to play him as a scheming Machiavellian femme fatale. On the first day of shooting, I got to seduce a woman I was about to strangle, and then lie shot through the eye in a pool of blood. Nice."

Character variants aside, not one single line of dialogue has been added or changed. The difference is in the delivery, with the emphasis on ensuring that an audience which may have never heard a single line of Shakespeare is able to accept it as an alternative accent of English.
Paul explains: "Take, for example, the Denmark prison scene, which can be viewed on the excerpts page of the movie's website. In it you will see what appears to be an improvisational workshop with the actors speaking to the camera, which is in itself a character. In fact, it's all texted Shakesperian English. But gone are the elitist parameters which ostracise the general public."

Fodor's Hamlet, from production house Zed Resistor (, will be the forty-second film/television version of the popular ghostly tale. The five most recent Shakesperian releases have collectively grossed over $100,000,000 USD*

Clips from the production may be viewed at:


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