Producer eyes another "Becket" adaptation

Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:40pm EDT
 
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By Gregg Kilday

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The conflict between King Henry II and Thomas Becket is aiming for the big screen again.

Indie producer Smuggler Films has acquired live stage and film rights to Jean Anouilh's 1960 play "Becket" and enlisted translator and playwright Ranjit Bolt to pen an adaptation.

The play centers on Becket, who was appointed by his friend Henry II as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1162 and then ultimately sided with the church against the crown

The play's original Broadway production in 1960 won four Tonys, including best play. Its 1964 film adaptation, starring Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole, went on to earn 12 Academy Award nominations, winning Edward Anhalt the Oscar for best adapted screenplay.

Bolt, nephew of screenwriter Robert Bolt, has translated a number of French plays for productions at Britain's Royal National Theater and the Royal Shakespeare Company. He described "Becket" as "the tragedy of a great friendship turning tragically and epoch-makingly sour."