Can Daisy Ridley and Naomi Watts breathe new life into Ophelia?


The new Ophelia movie will premiere at Sundance Film Festival later this month, with Naomi Watts and Daisy Ridley as primary characters.

The new Ophelia movie will premiere at Sundance Film Festival later this month, but unless you’ve read the Lisa Klein novel, it won’t be an entirely familiar story. It will, however, feature Star Wars‘ Daisy Ridley as the title character, and King Kong’s Naomi Watts as Queen Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother, in a true to the original setting of 14th century Denmark, but with much more empowered female characters.

“It’s looking at the story and saying, ‘How can we build a stronger and more dramatic way to represent these women to a modern audience and give a fresh take to the material?’ ” Director Claire McCarthy said to Entertainment Weekly.

Ophelia is a classic figure of a doomed heroine, and this movie hopes to express that in a lot of ways, including by building on the relationship between Ophelia (Ridley) and Gertrude (Watts), and by giving Ophelia her own life to worry about instead of focusing her entire life around Hamlet.

“Her marriage has grown stale, and I think she sees herself in Ophelia,” Watts explained to EW. “It’s just a spark that reignites her. It’s almost like she wants to put her on a path that she’s not been able to reach herself. So she sort of befriends her, and it’s like a project in a way that she wishes she could recreate or reinvent herself.”

However, Ophelia still ends with the titular character’s death, if from a different perspective, to retain Shakespeare’s original story. Personally, I find myself wishing that it would end a little differently — with Ophelia finding the strength to carry on, instead of ultimately deciding to end her own life.

Imagine how Hamlet’s story would change if Ophelia lived.

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Ultimately, the question is: how fresh and innovative can this take truly be?