After dominating the awards season three years ago for her work in nomadland, Chloé Zhao has finally found her next drama project. Deadline brings word that the Oscar-winning filmmaker has officially signed on to direct the upcoming film adaptation of Hamnetbased on Maggie O’Farrell’s bestselling historical fiction novel of the same name.
Tea Hamnet film will be co-written by O’Farrell and Zhao. It tells the story of William Shakespeare’s wife Agnes as she grieved the loss of their only son, Hamnet. “The novel charts the emotional, familial, and artistic consequences of that loss, bringing to life a human and heart-stopping story as the backdrop to the creation of Shakespeare’s most famous play, Hamlet.”
The film adaptation hails from Amblin Partners, Hera Pictures, Neal Street Productions, and Book of Shadows. Producers are Liza Marshall, Pippa Harris and Sam Mendes, with Nic Gonda executive producing. Amblin’s Jeb Brody and Mia Maniscalco are set to oversee the project.
The book synopsis reads: “Agnes is a wild creature who walks her family’s land with a falcon on her glove and is known throughout the countryside for her unusual gifts as a healer, understanding plants and potions better than she does people. Once she settles with her husband on Henley Street in Stratford-upon-Avon she becomes a proudly protective mother and a steadfast, centrifugal force in the life of her young husband, whose career on the London stage is taking off when his beloved young son succumbs to sudden fever.
“A luminous portrait of a marriage, a shattering evocation of a family ravaged by grief and loss, and a tender and unforgettable re-imagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, and whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays of all time, Hamnet is mesmerizing, seductive, impossible to put down — a magnificent leap forward from one of our most gifted novelists.”
In addition to nomadlandZhao has only directed three other feature-length films, including Marvel Studios’ star-studded MCU film Eternals. Besides Hamnetshe’s also currently developing a sci-fi western take on Bram Stoker’s iconic novel Dracula.