Paul Mescal & Jessie Buckley in Talks for Chloé Zhao Movie

According to Deadline, Oscar nominees Paul Mescal and Jessie Buckley are in negotiations for the leading roles in the upcoming period drama Hamnet, which hails from Nomadland filmmaker Chloé Zhao. The project will revolve around William Shakespeare’s wife Agnes, who is grieving the loss of her only son.

Buckley received critical recognition for her performances in Wild Rose and The Lost Daughter, with the latter earning her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She will next be seen in the comedy-drama Wicked Little Letters starring opposite Olivia Colman. As for Mescal, the Irish actor received acclaim for his breakout role in the limited drama Normal People. For his leading role in A24’s Aftersun, he was nominated for his first Oscar for Best Actor. He is currently attached to lead Ridley Scott’s highly-anticipated Gladiator sequel.

Who’s Involved in the Hamnet Adaptation?

The Hamnet film will be directed by Chloé Zhao from a screenplay she co-wrote with Maggie O’Farrell, based on O’Farrell’s award-winning historical fiction novel of the same name. “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.

In addition to Nomadland, Zhao has only directed three other feature-length films, including Marvel Studios’ star-studded MCU film Eternals. Besides Hamnet, she’s also currently developing a sci-fi western take on Bram Stoker’s iconic novel Dracula.

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.”