Noomi Rapace Will Play 'Hamlet' In New Gender-Swapped Adaptation

Hamlet has been adapted to the screen many times before, but there's a new adaptation on the way that's trying something different: the lead will be gender-swapped. Noomi Rapace is set to play the melancholy Dane in a new film from director Ali Abbasi (Border). This won't be the first time a female lead has played Hamlet – Ruth Negga recently played the character in Gate Theatre Dublin's production. But this will be the first feature film to take this approach.

Deadline is reporting that Noomi Rapace will play Hamlet in a new movie from filmmaker Ali Abbasi. Stine Meldgaard Madsen is producing for Meta Film, while Sjón, who co-wrote the upcoming Robert Eggers film The Northman, is handling the script, which is inspired by a little-known play by some guy named William "Bill" Shakespeare. Principal photography is scheduled to start during autumn 2021.

"Shakespeare stole the Hamlet story from us," said Abbasi. "Now it's our turn to claim it back and make a version so insane and so bloody that [it will] make him turn in his grave. Let's make Hamlet great again!" (Could've done with that last bit there, Mr. Abbasi.) Rapace added:

"Hamlet is a dream project in its purest and most explosive way. I've been hoping, dreaming, wishing for this as long as I've been an actress. I base this as much on the material as on the creative alliance that surrounds it. Ali, Sjón and Meta are for me creatives on the highest level. They're truly brave and groundbreaking in their different areas and always on top of their game. To take on a Danish story with a Scandinavian touch and bring it out into the world with this group of people is a dream."

Hamlet tells the tale of a tormented prince who returns home upon the death of his father. The father's ghost soon appears to Hamlet and reveals that he was murdered – by his own brother. And to make things worse, that brother – Hamlet's uncle – has married Hamlet's mother and is the new king. From there, Hamlet goes mad – or does he? It's up for debate. In any case, the play ends with pretty much everyone dead (spoiler alert for an over 400-year-old play).

The tragedy has been adapted to the screen numerous times: there's the famous, Academy Award-winning Laurence Olivier adaptation; the version starring Mel Gibson; Kenneth Branagh's full-text take (my personal favorite, honestly); and, of course, Michael Almereyda's modern-day adaptation where Ethan Hawke plays the lead and delivers the famous "To be, or not to be," soliloquy inside a Blockbuster Video.