King: Oscar Winner Timothee Chalamet’s Fresh Take on Shakespeare

Timothée Chalamet plays a young prince who likes to party but is forced to contend with wielding power after the death of his tyrannical father in David Michod’s The King, which has its premiere in the 2019 Venice Film Fest on Monday.

When Chalamet’s character, Hal, reluctantly takes the throne, he at first navigates politics, chaos and his father’s war using a moral compass and his pacifist instincts in a way that Chalamet said is still relevant.

“Even to this day there are people born in royal families and wealth or something,” Chalamet said at the press conference. “And the struggle of that is less in status and more in humanity,” he added.

Loosely based on several Shakespeare plays, the film – which was co-written by Michod and Joel Edgerton, who also stars – offers a fresh take on the Bard’s world.

“In the Shakespeare productions of the last century or so, there was a real aversion to using young actors for these roles,” Chalamet said. “There’s something haunting or disturbed about young people wielding so much power.”

This is, again, is something that is still happening today. “There’s modern analogies in the world,” he said. “There are people still today that come into power by lineage…and who wield it in any way they want.”

For the way that Gus Van Sant used the same plays in a free, modernist manner, read our review.