'Henry 5' Is Apocalyptic Shakespeare With Michael Caine, Ray Winstone And Gerard Depardieu

Proving once more that the work of William Shakespeare is versatile enough to power a story with just about any genre trappings, here's Henry 5, which glues together a stellar cast — Michael Caine, Ray Winstone, Gerard Depardieu and Derek Jacobi — in what appears to be a sci-fi or apocalyptic version of Henry V. It boasts the tagline "How will they justify why they went to war." Hm. Couldn't someone have come up with a more topical angle? More details after the break.

Here's the synopsis, via production company Darclight Films, which appears to be the genre arm of Arclight Films — sort of what Magnet is to Magnolia:

In an age of apocalypse, in a land without a leader, a dissolute prince finds redemption when he crushes a rebellion that threatens to destroy his father's kingdom. But upon assuming the throne himself, he immediately engineers a war against a neighboring state to slake his lust for power.

Despite his enemy possessing weaponry rendering their forces almost invincible, the newly crowned king seizes a glorious victory from the jaws of defeat by ruthlessness and cunning. But for all his wiles there's one thing the young monarch has overlooked. Just as he's prepared to do whatever it takes to ensure victory, so is his enemy...

Actually, all that flowery verbiage makes the thing sound dangerously close to overcooked. (Then again, so was the Shakespeare-based Forbidden Planet, and that turned out alright.) Better to just list the cast (I'll say again: Michael Caine, Ray Winstone, Gerard Depardieu and Derek Jacobi, also with Vinnie Jones) and mention that it's an apocalyptic Henry V. The Playlist beat me to guessing the cast/character lineup, so I'll have to echo them in imagining Michael Caine to be Henry IV and Ray Winstone the movie's version of Falstaff. That's if this cast holds together, that is. The American Film Market is going on starting tomorrow, so we may hear more soon if pre-sales come together for the film.

Directing is Michael Anderson. Not the director of the original Logan's Run, but a director and director of photography who has done commercials for Ridley Scott Associates among other clients and jobs. Andrew Hislop, Steve Wilkinson and Michael Anderson scripted based on Henry IV and Henry V.

[Production Weekly and The Playlist]