Tom Hiddleston’s ‘Richard II’ film adaptation is struggling to find financing


God, remember one year ago? Tom Hiddleston was everywhere. Tiddles/Hiddleswift was cooling off, but we literally talked about Tom every single day, because the Glorious Tiddlebanging of 2016 was amazing. I would give just about anything for another Tiddlebanging right about now. As it is, Tom has been largely undercover for months. He did all of his promotional duties for Kong: Skull Island in the spring, and then I guess he was working on Marvel movies? Infinity Wars, perhaps? I guess. According to, Tom has been trying to put together a movie version of Shakespeare’s Richard II though, only they are having trouble getting the financing.

Tom Hiddleston’s new movie adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play Richard II is struggling to obtain financing. The Avengers actor, 36, has been lined up for a role in the movie since 2015, but director and producer James Ivory says that despite a stellar cast, which also includes Homeland star Damian Lewis, 46, he can’t obtain funding from investors.

“They look at you like you’re crazy,” he tells British newspaper The Guardian. “There is an assumption that there is no money to be made from such an investment.”

Ivory, whose 1993 drama The Remains of the Day was nominated for eight Academy Awards, says that despite a superb script from Oscar-winning scribe Chris Terrio, financiers won’t get behind the project. He explains he’s been told the movie is a “terrific idea”, but that, “nobody comes forward with the money”.

Written at the end of the 16th Century, Richard II is one of William Shakespeare’s lesser known plays, and tells the story of how English monarch Richard II was overthrown by nobleman Henry Bolingbroke, who became King Henry IV. The play has never been adapted for the screen, although James Bond actor Ben Whishaw starred in a 2012 adaptation as part of the BBC’s The Hollow Crown TV series, a collation of several of Shakespeare’s historical plays. Hiddleston also starred in the TV series, playing British king Henry V in three later episodes.

Ivory, 89, wants around $19.5 million to make the movie, and ideally wants to film it in 3D.

“It would make a fantastic thing visually to do a medieval film in 3D,” he says. “We know very little about the medieval age. You read books about it. You go to museums and see the armor and so forth, but that’s really all we know about it. When it’s delivered as a film, you learn a lot.”

[From Hollywood]

Just my opinion: the reason they’re having issues with financing is because James Ivory wants this to be 3D. I realize that Hollywood thinks 3D is the future and everything (I’m waiting to see if that’s really the case), but the cost doesn’t make much sense for what would likely be a pretty staid historical drama. That being said, it doesn’t sound like a huge budget in Hollywood terms, and I bet they’ll eventually find a way to get some or all of the financing. So Tom will likely get to do Shakespeare again eventually, maybe after he wraps on the stage production of Hamlet?

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Photos courtesy of ‘The Hollow Crown’ and WENN.

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67 Responses to “Tom Hiddleston’s ‘Richard II’ film adaptation is struggling to find financing”

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  1. third ginger says:

    It is not Hiddleston’s movie although he has been attached to it for years. It’s James Ivory’s movie. 3-d Shakespeare when nothing but Marvel is a guaranteed hit? I love Mr. Ivory, but his heyday was the ROOM WITH A VIEW and other lovely productions. I think money people probably find him very old-fashioned.

  2. MI6 says:

    Shakespeare and 3D do NOT go together. This is surprisingly ill-advised for Ivory. How about a modernized version instead, sir? I’ll write it. Could be quite pertinent right about now.
    I would see Hiddles’ RII in a heartbeat, btw. In either iteration.
    AND Hamlet. If I lived closer, dammit.

  3. Nanny to the Rescue says:

    The 3D makes no sense to me either, unless he’ll add dragons or some other not-really-medieval feature to it. ANd he’s 89, so better hurry up.

  4. LAK says:

    James Ivory has really struggled since the death of his producing partner Ishmail Merchant. He was the financing genius of the partnership whilst James directed.

    Also, minor quibble which is giving me an eye twitch in that article, but Henry Bolingbroke was more than just a mere ‘nobleman’. He was R2′s first cousin. Through Henry, the crown acquired the duchy of Lancaster and the ducal title that the monarch still holds today.

  5. Mia 4s says:

    “There is an assumption that there is no money to be made from such an investment.”

    Good assumption.

    Seriously though he needs to go look up what Coriolanus and MacBeth made and cut that financing request by about 85%. At least. Plus you’ve attached two actors who can play the roles, but neither one can sell or open a movie on their name. Few can! So the concept must sell…and this concept is not going to sell.

  6. Ankhel says:

    Kind of sad it’s so hard to get financing for most projects but cartoons, action movies and feather light comedies. I used to be able to bring my older relatives to the movies quite often. Now there’s hardly anything for them.

  7. lightpurple says:

    Many independent directors have said that it is extremely difficult to get financing for small films. Jarmusch has been particularly vocal. Tom has never mentioned anything about this filmed version of Richard II. James Ivory has popped up about once a year for the past 3 years, usually in Italian magazines for some reason but this time the Guardian, to say he is trying to do this but can’t get financing. The fact that he is 89 years old might also be adding to the problem with insurance unwilling to take that risk. Also, Ivory has been saying it is next on Tom’s schedule for years now and that schedule hasn’t had much free time in it.

  8. t.fanty says:

    Does there really need to be *another* RII, I wonder?

  9. Secret squirrel says:

    Thanks Kaiser for the Prince Hal visuals. A two hour movie of Prince Hal (with at least one hour in the steam room) would be a better film in 3D. I for one would pull out my chequebook for that!

  10. Lindy says:

    Agree that the 3D makes no sense. I do hope this gets made as a regular film, though. Some of the speeches in the play are among the most beautiful and sad of all Shakespeare’s history plays. The language is so beautiful and Richard II is a great character. I know Richard III is more fun and meaty as far as roles might go, but I think Hiddles can really make Richard II come alive for an audience.

  11. ash says:

    I might be in the minority here but as a black american woman I love a good monarch ousting and generally historical fiction adaptions and shows and plays. that said….NO BODY WANTS TO SEE IT IN 3D…. thats corny and lame.

  12. Me says:

    Hiddleston as Hal and Henry were his best performances ever. And his looks back then…. Swoooon….. Nothing tops that look.

  13. seesittellsit says:

    This isn’t Tom Hiddleston’s production, it’s James Ivory’s. Hiddleston and Damian Lewis are lined up to star, but it’s Ivory’s project. That said, they’ll go a long way, in my opinion, to beat Ben Whishaw’s brilliant portrayal of the conflicted, initially promising, but ultimately failed Richard II. In my opinion, even among other players in the Henriad presented by “The Hollow Crown” series, like Jeremy Irons, Rory Kinnear, and Hiddleston, Whishaw’s Richard II was the standout performance.

  14. Cami says:

    Studio’s are becoming more and more reluctant to fund mid budget movies anymore. They want the guaranteed big money with comic books or animation pics. Only low indie projects are getting green light. Monetarily less risk. That’s why some directors and stars flocking to Netflix and cable.

  15. seesittellsit says:

    I hope that with “Hamlet” for the RADA benefit Hiddleston will return to his roots and go in for serious drama and theater work. I think he should give the “I want to be a global film star” campaign a rest – it isn’t working and I’m guessing that even if he made a good bit of money, it’s not really feeding his basic talent. I have my issues with him, but he’s highly intelligent and passionate about acting – stuff like “Kong” can’t be feeding that much. For that reason, also, I hope this film finds financing so he can return to who I personally think he was meant to be.

    The Powerball is up to $510 million – if I get lucky, perhaps I’ll give Ivory a hand here. But one of the conditions will be to drop the 3D business – NOT ON!

  16. Enough Already says:

    More Shakespeare. That is all.

  17. Grace says:

    On a related subject, the ballot was just as I expected. Tuesday night 8 o’clock I got an email informing me that I had been unsuccessful and with the demand so high, it would be unlikely that they would draw again. I knew I always had the worst luck where luck was needed. /cries

    Has anyone on CB gotten through?

  18. Peach says:

    I hope it will work out.
    I love Tom playing Shakespeare.
    Is it anyone else who managed to get Hamlet tickets btw?