Al Pacino has signed on for the lead role in King Lear, director Michael Radford's adaptation of the Shakespeare play.
According to Variety, Radford wrote the script, and is making his second Shakespearean foray with Pacino after their 2004 collaboration The Merchant of Venice, which cast Pacino as Shylock.
The film will be produced by Barry Navidi, who teamed with Pacino on The Merchant of Venice as well as the upcoming Salomaybe?, which Pacino directed and stars in. That film, based on the Oscar Wilde play, is in post-production.
While Pacino has played many Shakespearean characters, he has never played King Lear, the aging monarch who selects his successor by parsing his kingdom in three parts, ruled by his trio of daughters. Two of them are scheming connivers who flatter their father, while the one loving daughter, Cordelia, refuses to play that game and is exiled. The king ultimately loses everything.
Radford will shoot the picture entirely in Europe, starting later this year.
"Al has been offered this role many times over the years, but didn't feel ready," Navidi said. "He's ready now. The film will be true to its period, very similar to the classical look of 'Merchant of Venice.' Michael came up with the most brilliant adaptation and Al and I flipped for it."