Legendary Russian playwright Anton Chekov is getting the modernization treatment as Variety reports that Christian Carmago, an actor probably best known for his role in The Hurt Locker, is making his directorial debut with an adaptation of Chekov’s 1896 play The Seagull. The subtext-heavy play will shift from Russia to modern day New England, focusing on a family who confront the nature of love over Memorial Day weekend.
With the source material being deep and meaty, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it has attracted an eclectic mix of actors. Katie Holmes, William Hurt, Allison Janney, Jean Reno, Russell Means, Mark Rylance, and Julie Rylance are all negotiating for parts and according to the article are in various stages of the process. Provided they all sign on, Janney will star as Elizabeth (the modern version of the original’s Irina Arkadina), with Hurt as her brother and Holmes as the estate caretaker’s daughter. Production on The Seagull is scheduled to begin this summer in upstate New York with exact dates to be decided.
While Variety framed the casting as something star-studded, but I don’t have the same feelings. They’re all at least decent actors, but this is hardly some starry ensemble that will drag people into the theaters. I’m more interested to see how a Chekov play will be adapted and modernized. It’s coming from a passionate place at least, so there’s hope it won’t be botched.
Should The Seagull be turned into a modernized film? Do the themes of the original 1896 play still have relevance in today’s culture?
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