Catherine Hardwicke will reunite with Emile Hirsch in a contemporary adaptation of Hamlet for Overture Films.

Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, hot off the success of Milk, will produce through The Jinks/Cohen Company while the Oscar nominated Philadelphia screenwriter Ron Nyswaner will adapt Shakespeare’s enduring drama.

It is understood the story will be in the style of a thriller and takes place in modern-day America as a young man agonises over whether or not to avenge his father’s murder at the hands of his uncle.

Hirsch worked with Jinks and Cohen on Milk and conceived the modern take on the centuries-old play. Overture hopes to have a completed script ready within months with a view to commencing production shortly thereafter.

“With its universal themes of death, revenge, love and even teen angst – the story of Hamlet is perhaps as timely and influential today as it was when it was written over 400 years ago,” Overture CEO Chris McGurk and COO Danny Rosett said. “Tremendous talent is on board in the form of Emile, Catherine and Ron and we are confident – particularly with Bruce and Dan guiding the project – that this has all the right ingredients to be something special.”

“Hamlet was in college when the story takes place, yet there hasn’t been a movie version with an appropriately-aged actor playing the role,” Jinks and Cohen said. “Our goal is to present the story as a suspense thriller. We want to make it exciting and accessible for an audience today.”

“We read the play aloud and when I heard Emile speaking Shakespeare’s amazing words, I was flooded with images,” Hardwicke, who previously directed Hirsch in Lords Of Dogtown, said. “We edited the play tightly, making the words extremely accessible. In our version, we’re working hard to make Hamlet a thrilling cinematic experience – the violent, intense, and romantic scenes that happen ‘off-stage’ in the play will be shown in vivid detail.”

Hardwicke’s directorial highpoint came with the release in 2008 of Twilight, which went on to gross close to $380m worldwide.