Director Michael Almereyda and Ethan Hawke are teaming up to bring us a modern-day film adaptation of Shakespeare's masterpiece, Cymbeline. Hawke will play the mischief-loving villain, Iachimo, who almost ruins the lives of the beautiful Imogen and her new upstanding husband, Posthumus, by scheming to impugn Imogen's renowned virtue, about which Posthumus brags excessively. Dakota Johnson will play the difficult role of Imogen, one of Shakespeare's most beloved and sophisticated heroines.
Although it is classified a comedy due to the antics of the foolish Cloten (son to the evil Queen), the reconciliation of Imogen and Posthumus, and the repentance of Iachimo, it is a gloomy work with catastrophe looming at every turn. From the trailer it appears Almereyda will focus on the darkest aspects of the play.
It will be very interesting to see how Almereyda handles the pivotal chamber scene, in which Iachimo climbs out of a trunk to give a lengthy soliloquy over the sleeping Imogen and steal the bracelet Posthumus gave her, to prove to Posthumus she has been unfaithful.
Shakespeare was familiar with seven foreign languages and often quoted them directly in his plays. His vocabulary was the largest of any writer, at over twenty-four thousand words. According to James Davie Butler, "the total vocabulary of Milton's poetical remains is more nearly seventeen than eighteen thousand (17,377); and that of Homer, including the hymns as well as both Iliad and Odyssey, is scarcely nine thousand. Five thousand eight hundred and sixty words exhaust the vocabulary of Dante's Divina Comedia." (The Once Used Words in Shakespeare)