ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY – William Shakespeare sure loved a doomed heroine. Some of the Bard’s most famous women — Juliet, Desdemona, Lady Macbeth — all met with a grisly fate, but few are as iconic as Hamlet’s Ophelia, who goes mad with heartbreak and drowns herself in a river. While Hamlet’s insanity and demise have been explored countless times since the play’s publication in 1603, much of Ophelia’s story happens off stage. Claire McCarthy’s new film Ophelia, led by Star Wars’ Daisy Ridley, aims to change that — and reimagine the character as a bold, complicated young heroine.

It’s a radical reinvention for a woman who’s most frequently portrayed in art and literature as a docile, waif-like beauty, driven mad by love and passively accepting her watery death.

“That’s often how women have been portrayed in storytelling — as the damsel in the distress,” says Naomi Watts, who plays Hamlet’s mother, Queen Gertrude. “If their mind is powerful, it must be madness. And now there’s this shift that’s taking place, and that’s reflected in this storytelling.”

Based on Lisa Klein’s novel and premiering this month at the Sundance Film Festival, Ophelia follows its lowborn protagonist as she becomes the most trusted lady-in-waiting for Gertrude and strikes up a relationship with her son, Hamlet (George MacKay). Along the way, Ophelia gets caught up in the court’s deadliest betrayals and secrets, all while trying to find her own path. “We wanted her to feel a lot more empowered and a lot more visceral than the original Ophelia, who is really only in a handful of scenes,” McCarthy (The Waiting City) says. In other words, this Ophelia is more concerned with her own destiny than Hamlet’s emo mopiness. Ophelia’s new direction also gives the 400-year-old play new relevance in 2018. “There’s real currency in the fact that Ophelia was the victim, and now she’s been recast as the hero,” Watts says.

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‘Ophelia’ will have its world premiere during the Sundance Film Festival. The festival will take place around Park City, Utah, on January 18-28.

Ophelia / United Kingdom (Director: Claire McCarthy, Screenwriter: Semi Chellas, Producers: Daniel Bobker, Sarah Curtis, Ehren Kruger, Paul Hanson) — A mythic spin on Hamlet through a lens of female empowerment: Ophelia comes of age as lady-in-waiting for Queen Gertrude, and her singular spirit captures Hamlet’s affections. As lust and betrayal threaten the kingdom, Ophelia finds herself trapped between true love and controlling her own destiny. Cast: Daisy Ridley, Naomi Watts, Clive Owen, George MacKay, Tom Felton, Devon Terrell. World Premiere

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – Netflix has picked up Super-Normal, the hot superhero package that has Josh Gad, Daisy Ridley and Luke Evans attached to star.

Gad is producing the project with Dan Lin, who produced Death Note for Netflix and is known for the Lego movies. Jonathan Eirich of Lin Pictures is also producing. Brothers Aaron and Jordan Kandell, who worked on Disney’s Moana, are writing the script.

Gad took on a superheroic role for the project as well, originating the idea, then developing it with the Kandells. He then roped in his friends Ridley, with whom he stars in Murder on the Orient Express, and Evans, his cohort from the billion-dollar-grossing live-action Beauty and the Beast.

Evans was in the room with Gad for the pitch meetings and will executive produce.

Super-Normal is intended to be a character-driven, subversive take on a genre that Hollywood and the rest of the world loves too much. The package hit the town late last month, generating instant interest and a bid from Disney, among other studios.