Judi Dench joins Benedict Cumberbatch in 'Richard III' as part of Hollow Crown sequels


From the Department of When it Rains, it Pours…

As if the three forthcoming Shakespeare adaptations under the title The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses couldn’t have gotten any better given the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Hugh Bonneville and Sophie Okonedo already signed up to star. Now comes the official announcement that Dame Judi Dench will join the cast of Richard III as part of the sequel to last years successful run of The Hollow Crown.

You might remember their close encounter earlier this summer at the Hay Festival where the Sherlock star positioned himself in the audience during her Q&A session with Sir Richard Eyre. “Would you like to be in Richard III with me?” he asked. “Yeah,” Dame Judi replied after a theatrical pause, prompting cheers from the crowd.
 
Benedict Cumberbatch and Dame Judi Dench at the Hay Festival

Hugh Bonneville, known for portraying Robert Crawley in Downton Abbey, will play Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester in the first part of a two-part adaptation of Henry VI. Benedict Cumberbatch will play Richard III with Dame Dench playing Cecily, Duchess of York.

Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda, After Earth) will portray Queen Margaret across all three films with Keeley Hawes (Upstairs Downstairs, Ashes to Ashes, Spooks) signing on to play Queen Elizabeth in Henry VI part 2 and Richard III. Tom Sturridge (On the Road) has been cast as Henry VI in both parts of that production.

The first go-round of the BBC Shakespeare adaptations under The Hollow Crown title, which included Richard II and a two-part Henry IV, was not only a hit in both the UK and the U.S. on PBS, it sported an equally as impressive cast with Jeremy Irons, Tom Hiddleston and Ben Whishaw starring.

Look for The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses on BBC Two and PBS, hopefully in 2015.