Michael Radford, who helmed the 2004 Pacino-led The Merchant of Venice movie, will direct the veteran actor as the once-great monarch who descends into madness.
Barry Navidi, who produced Merchant of Venice, is also attached to Lear. Filming is expected to begin next fall in the U.K.
Director Radford told the Observer, “Lear is the one that everyone aims for. Al has been toying with the idea for a long time. There’s a difference between Shylock, who’s only in five scenes, and Lear, who is in every scene, pretty much. It’s enormous. I think [Pacino] would like to have that kind of kudos because he’s a terrific actor.”
Pacino made his Broadway debut in Does a Tiger Wear Necktie? in 1969 and won a Tony Award for his performance. He won his second Tony for his role in the 1977 revival of The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel. He was also Tony-nominated for his work in American Buffalo and the 2010 staging of The Merchant of Venice.
In related news, Tony winner Glenda Jackson will return to Broadway later this season in the title role of a new production of King Lear, directed by Sam Gold.