The National Theatre is to film a version of its planned production of Romeo and Juliet for TV.
The piece was originally due to be staged this summer but will now be recorded for release on Sky Arts in the UK and PBS in the US in Spring 2021.
Jessie Buckley (Chernobyl, Judy) and Josh O’Connor (God’s Own Country, The Crown) will take on the titular roles.
Further casting includes Deborah Findlay (Coriolanus, The Split) as the Nurse, Tamsin Greig (Twelfth Night, Talking Heads) as Lady Capulet, Fisayo Akinade (The Antipodes, Barber Shop Chronicles) as Mercutio, Lucian Msamati (Master Harold…and the boys, His Dark Materials) as the Friar, Shubham Saraf (A Suitable Boy) as Benvolio, David Judge (My Brilliant Friend) as Tybalt, Alex Mugnaioni (The Visit) as Paris and Ellis Howard (Catherine the Great) as Sampson.
They’re joined by Adrian Lester (Life, Undercover) as Prince, Lloyd Hutchinson as Lord Capulet, Colin Tierney as Lord Montague and Ella Dacres as Peta.
The film will premiere in the UK on Sky Arts on Sunday, 4 April at 9PM. In the US it will air on PBS on 23 April.
Simon Godwin (Antony and Cleopatra, Twelfth Night) will direct with Emily Burns adapting the show for the screen. DP Tim Sidell (I Hate Suzie), with production design by Soutra Gilmour, movement direction by Jonathan Goddard and Shelley Maxwell, fight direction by Kate Waters and composition by Michael Bruce.
A three week shot took place in the Lyttelton theatre under the latest guidelines.
Rufus Norris, director and joint chief executive of the National Theatre, said: “Realising the Lyttelton theatre would need to remain shut to audiences during this time has been really difficult and meant we found ourselves in a unique set of circumstances.
“I wanted to find a way to use that space to create something exciting and special for audiences, that utilised the exceptional skill and craft of the National Theatre’s teams, freelancers and creative associates, and that could reach as many people as we can.
“That’s all going to be possible with this brilliant film of Romeo and Juliet and, in collaboration with Sky Arts, PBS and No Guarantees, it will be seen across the UK and US. I’m delighted that Simon, Jessie, Josh and the team have joined us for a National Theatre first and are going to create a truly fresh film of Shakespeare’s enduring love story.”