William Monahan To Adapt “Becket”

Scribe William Monahan (“The Departed,” “Kingdom of Heaven”) is set to pen and direct a new adaptation of Jean Anouilh’s 1959 French play “Becket” reports Deadline.

The story is a fictional spin on the friendship between 12th century ruler King Henry II and the Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket.

Starting out as good friends who lived a hedonistic lifestyle together, Becket became a reformed devout who tried to preserve the rights of the church against the king and is ultimately murdered.

The play was previously turned into a 1964 film starring Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton which won that film’s scribe Edward Anhalt an Oscar.

Monahan is re-adapting the play and plans to change the scope of the story. He tells the site “The world of the Plantagenets was very rich and we’ll open the play up into that world and go into the relationships of the Angevin court more than the 1964 film was able to do. To adapt something is to do a literary personalization of a story, so in that sense I’ll be doing a very different Becket”

Monahan, Patrick Milling Smith, John Hart and Brian Carmody will produce. Pre-production kicks off in the UK early next year.

Monahan’s directorial debut, “London Boulevard”, opens in the UK next week and the US in February.