Enemy of Man: Adapting Shakespeare with the Help of Kickstarter

Right on the heels of the release of Veronica Mars– a Kickstarter-funded film that provoked many in entertainment media to ask if this will change the future of film- another exciting Kickstarter has made it’s pitch to the public.

Director Vincent Regan is asking for help funding the production on his independent feature film Enemy of Man, an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth that already has an A-list cast committed to it. Sean Bean will take on the tragic title role, while big names actors Charles Dance, James D’Arcy and Rupert Grint will be playing Duncan, Banquo and Rosse respectively.

As I’m writing this, the project has 16 days left and just under half of it’s $250,000 goal has been pledged. But director and cast haven’t just been sitting around in the beginning stages of the project waiting for funds. They’ve already shot an 8-minute proof of concept film and a teaser trailer to show backers what the film will look like. The full 8-minute film, called Instruments of Darkness is available for a $10 pledge to the Kickstarter.

While that trailer does send a chill of excitement through me, the video pitch for the Kickstarter itself is what really sold me on this project. Regan’s passion for the story told in Macbeth comes across strongly as he talks about adapting it and the cast itself seems to really believe in the script. Sean Bean describes it as “not word-heavy” Shakespeare and Regan says that he added a bit more action. That originally made me weary as it seems a very Hollywood thing to do.

But he won me over with his reasons for funding through Kickstarter. With the cast that is attached to the project, I imagine that it wouldn’t be overly difficult to sell the idea to a studio and go through traditional funding methods. But Regan came to Kickstarter because he believes that his vision falls outside of what the industry would be willing to take a chance on. Instead of changing his vision, he is changing his methods.

Watch the video for yourself at the Kickstarter page.

After the Veronica Mars Kickstarter success, most articles focused their industry predictions on cult-followings, on shows like VM that ended too soon. Not to say that Shakespeare doesn’t have his own group of fans, but I’m not sure this is what they had in mind. And that makes me even more excited about the possibilities.

The film industry is in the business of making money and so it’s hard to blame it too much for sticking to the tried and true formulas. But I think that we can all agree that it has gotten stuck in a rut with those formulas and that is why seeing projects like this pop up seems to fill the air with promises to shake things up.

I encourage you all to head over to the Kickstarter for Enemy of Man and give it a look through, even if you’re not interested or able to contribute. If you are interested in backing it, $15 and up with get you a digital copy of the feature film, which isn’t much higher than a theater ticket. They are also offering exclusive t-shirts, posters, and concept art.

What do you think of this project? Let’s talk about it in the comments!