Sundance, Day 7:
Why Hamlet 2 Is Hot, Hot, Hot
Finally, there’s a huge sale at Sundance. Hamlet 2 is a satirical comedy about a failed actor turned high school teacher (Steve Coogan) who stages a musical sequel to Hamlet. And it screened so well that Focus Features snapped it up for $10 million. That’s the second-biggest sale in history, the first being Little Miss Sunshine.
So, what are the ingredients to the most appetizing Sundance spread?
1. Set the Table with Mickey Mouse-Themed Place Mats! Hamlet 2 producer Eric Eisner has a dad named Michael Eisner. You might have heard of Michael? He worked for some company called Disney or something. Anyway, Eisner didn’t make the deadline for Sundance. But he used his pull to secure a last-second screening of the rough cut so that the film could be shown. Well done, Eric.
2. Break Open a Bottle of Superexpensive 1787 Château Lafite! Hamlet 2 is classy. Even common folk moviegoers will hear the title and think, Dang, Shakespeare, that’s probably good.
3. Open Up a Box of Twinkies! Hamlet 2 sends up Dangerous Minds. Phew. It’s not all about Shakespeare.
4. Garnish with Eight Packs of NutraSweet! Everyone at Focus should send a fruit basket as a gesture of gratitude to Paris Hilton. The reformed party girl has been ditzing about, helping remind buyers we need Shakespearean-themed entertainment to distract us from, well, Paris.
5. Laugh So Hard That You Spit the Wine All over the Twinkies! Hamlet 2 star Elisabeth Shue had this to say to the New York Times: “I just got the script and it said, ‘A famous actress who’s a has-been, lives in Tucson and is a nurse.’ I had to do it.” Ha.
6. Light Estrogen-Scented Candles! Catherine Keener costars, which is reason enough to think seriously about buying or seeing any movie. Plus, Hamlet 2 is cowritten by South Park vet Pam Brady. And while less than 30 percent of the WGA is women, fortysomething percent of this year’s Oscar-nominated screenwriters are women. Neat!