Regardless of their differing opinions in mutant-human affairs in the X-Men movie franchise, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan will always have one other thing in common: Billy Shakespeare.
The duo are reportedly planning a feature version of Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice, but unlike Al Pacino’s recent version that scarcely anyone saw, the plan is to set the tale in contemporary Las Vegas, specifically the swanky Venetian hotel. The perception is that the story’s themes of gambling, greed and homosexuality are a great fit for a town defined by its accessibility of vices and glitzy excess.
Though set in modern times, the latest adaptation (budgeted around $35 million and produced by Stewart) will retain the original grandiloquent dialogue. Shakespeare’s play revolves around lusty elder Antonio who borrows money from a loan shark named Shylock after a failed attempt to score points with a handsome younger lad, who’s off pursuing a hot babe. McKellan would take the Antonio role with Stewart demanding his pound of flesh as Shylock, a role he’s previously performed on stage.