Smuggler Films nabs rights to 'Becket'

Ranjit Bolt to adapt play about Thomas Becket, King Henry II

The conflict between King Henry II and Thomas Becket is planning a return to the stage, with a potential new film version in the wings.

Smuggler Films has acquired live stage and film rights to Jean Anouilh's 1960 play "Becket" and enlisted translator and playwright Ranjit Bolt to pen a new adaptation.

The play centers on Becket, who was appointed by his friend Henry II as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1162 then ultimately sided with the church against the crown.

The play's original Broadway production in 1960 won four Tonys, including best play. Its 1964 film adaptation, starring Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole, went on to earn 12 Academy Award nominations, winning Edward Anhalt the Oscar for best adapted screenplay.

Bolt, nephew of screenwriter Robert Bolt, has translated a number of French plays for productions at Britain's Royal National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. He described "Becket" as "the tragedy of a great friendship turning tragically and epoch-makingly sour."

Smuggler is headed by producers John N. Hart, Brian Carmody and Patrick Milling Smith.
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