Set in the 14th Century but spoken in modern word OPHELIA is a dynamic re-imagining of Shakespeare’s Hamlet a beautifully cinematic film that speaks to the resilience of a character that resonates with today’s woman. From the opening scene, Director Claire McCarthy quickly establishes Ophelia (Daisy Ridley) as a willful and confident child who is not afraid to take chances. During a court celebration Queen Gertrude(Naomi Watts), with her son Hamlet(George MacKay) and the King are being entertained when Ophelia sneaks under the table to listen and is enchanted by the performance. But when the performer makes a statement, Ophelia stands up and bravely contradicts him. Queen Gertrude is intrigued and takes the child under her wing.
Devon Terrell as “Horatio”, Daisy Ridley as “Ophelia” and Tom Felton as “Laertes” in Claire McCarthy’s Ophelia. Courtesy of IFC Films. An IFC Films release
Ophelia becomes a trusted Lady-in-Waiting for Queen Gertrude to the delight of her family. However, when Hamlet returns a forbidden romance blossom between them, which puts Ophelia and her family at risk. Polonius, Ophelia’s father and adviser to the King, is put to the test when the situation spirals out of control.
Daisy Ridley as “Ophelia” and George MacKay as “Hamlet” in Claire McCarthy’s Ophelia. Courtesy of IFC Films. An IFC Films release.
George MacKay brings a sweet yet tortured sensibility to his role as Hamlet and pulls us into his anguish and need for revenge. With equally solid performances by Naomi Watts(Queen Gertrude), a woman who is wallowing in self-pity and insecurities. Rounding out the cast is Clive Owen( the villainous Claudius) who conspired to have the King killed. When Claudius realizes that Ophelia has discovered his duplicity, her life is in danger, and she must find a way to survive.
From the cinematography, production design, hair, and makeup, music, and editing all departments delivered a film that will stand the test of time as a classic period piece. And you don’t have to love or understand Shakespeare to enjoy ‘OPHELIA”.
Clive Owen as “Claudius” in Claire McCarthy’s Ophelia. Courtesy of IFC Films. An IFC Films release.
Producer Daniel Bobker first read Lisa Klein’s young adult novel Ophelia one month before it was published and was immediately enthralled by the concept of telling the story of Hamlet through Ophelia’s eyes. “I thought the conceit of Ophelia as a Spitfire was seductive and that retelling Hamlet with a slant of female empowerment might be a way to make it more relevant and fresh for a contemporary audience,” he remembers. Bobker spoke post-haste with his producing partner Ehren Kruger and the two locked down the rights to the novel several weeks before it came out in April 2007.
OPHELIA was filmed at historical locations throughout the Czech Republic and on a medieval soundstage, interiors conceptualized by production designer Dave Warren, an Academy-Award® nominee for his work on Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. The film’s most massive build – Elsinore Castle’s Great Hall – nearly filled Stage 6 of Prague’s legendary Barrandov Studios.
OPHELIA is Available On Demand and Digital – Tuesday, July 2, 2019