NEW YORK, April 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Glenn Close and Patrick Stewart will star as a legendary royal couple, the scheming Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine and the ruthless King Henry Plantagenet II of England, in the upcoming SHOWTIME Original Picture THE LION IN WINTER from Hallmark Entertainment. Filmed using the Academy Award(R)-winning screenplay by James Goldman, THE LION IN WINTER co-stars Andrew Howard, John Light, Rafe Spall, Clive Wood, Julia Vysotsky and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers. Shot on location in Hungary and at Spissky Castle in Slovakia, the lavish and witty film about the bitter battle to choose King Henry II's successor will air on SHOWTIME on Sunday, May 23rd at 7:30 PM (ET/PT). THE LION IN WINTER is directed by Emmy(R)-winner Andrei Konchalovsky ("The Odyssey," "House of Fools"). A presentation of Showtime in association with Hallmark Entertainment, the film is a MAT IV production. Robert Halmi, Sr. ("Dreamkeeper," "Dinotopia"), Robert Halmi, Jr., Martin Poll, who produced the original film version of "The Lion In Winter," Patrick Stewart and Wendy Neuss-Stewart ("King of Texas," "A Christmas Carol") serve as executive producers. The film is produced by Dyson Lovell. Paul Lowin serves as co-producer and Vicki Letizia is the associate producer. Hallmark Entertainment is one of the largest producers of movies and miniseries for television. It is a subsidiary of Hallmark Cards, Inc. Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Viacom Inc., owns the premium television networks SHOWTIME(R), THE MOVIE CHANNEL(TM) and FLIX(R), as well as the multiplex channels SHOWTIME(R) TOO(TM), SHOWTIME(R) SHOWCASE, SHOWTIME EXTREME(R), SHOWTIME BEYOND(R), SHOWTIME NEXT(R), SHOWTIME WOMEN(R), SHOWTIME FAMILYZONE(R) and TMC xtra. SNI also offers SHOWTIME HD(R), THE MOVIE CHANNEL HD(R), SHOWTIME ON DEMAND(R) and THE MOVIE CHANNEL ON DEMAND(TM). SNI operates and manages the premium television network SUNDANCE CHANNEL(R), which is owned by SNI, Robert Redford and Universal Studios. All SNI feeds provide enhanced sound using Dolby Digital 5.1. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME(R) PPV. Additionally, the advertiser-supported television network SHOWTIME EXTREME(R) is available in Spain through a joint venture with Media Park and the advertiser-supported television network SHOWTIME is available in Turkey through a joint venture with UK-based Zone Vision. -- Rating TV14 -- Run Time: 2:36:25 -- Playdates: Friday, 5/28/04 at 8:00 PM SYNOPSIS You are cordially invited to attend this season's most ruthless reunion, as a fearsome father, a scheming mother and three disloyal sons plot for power. His kingdom encompassed all of Britain and half of France, but the one thing that King Henry II could never control was his family. The year is 1183 -- an era known more for its barbarism than the sanctity of familial bonds and matrimonial loyalty. King Henry II (PATRICK STEWART) finds himself surrounded by cunning and ambitious relatives, all bent on seeking personal gain and political rewards at his expense. He is a formidable monarch who has ruled England for many years, but he has begun to question his own mortality in the waning years of his life. With the arrival of the Christmas holiday, Henry wants to use the occasion to announce his chosen heir to the throne. He invites his estranged wife, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine (GLENN CLOSE), to attend the celebrations that are to take place at Chinon Castle in France. Eleanor is a royal pariah and has been imprisoned by Henry for conspiring against him during a political coup over a decade ago. Still, their love and admiration for each other boils just below the surface of their bickering. Eleanor remains shrewd and calculating, and craves the power that she feels Henry has denied her. Using her beguiling charms, she is determined to prevent Henry's plans from coming to fruition. To complicate matters, Henry's mistress Alais (JULIA VYSOTSKY) and her conniving brother, King Philip II of France (JONATHAN RHYS-MEYERS), are also attending the festivities. Beleaguered Henry must choose his successor from among his three plotting sons: the fearless and prodigal Richard the Lionhearted (ANDREW HOWARD), the shallow and opportunistic Geoffrey (JOHN LIGHT) or the luckless and bumbling John (RAFE SPALL). When Eleanor discovers that Henry wants John to become the heir, she schemes to attain the honor for her chosen son, Richard, and even promises to yield her own territory of Aquitaine in a desperate attempt to sway the King. This leaves Geoffrey plotting against both his brothers as he tries to secure his own uncertain future. As the three siblings each engage in their own brand of deception, this unique celebration gets under way, and degenerates into an emotional gauntlet for everyone in attendance. King Philip begins to plot against Henry by pursuing his own agenda and conspiring with the brothers against their father. As Geoffrey and John contemplate the prospect of going to war against Richard, they are unaware that Philip is secretly blackmailing Richard to prevent him from ascending to the throne. Trapped in the middle of the confrontations is the concubine Alais, who desperately seeks to keep Henry's affections while trying to avoid the vengeful wrath of Eleanor. As the backstabbing and betrayals heighten, Henry comes to the realization that his children will stop at nothing to undermine his wishes, and yearns for a future with Alais so she can bear him sons who are deserving of his kingdom. Before the holiday is over, not only will a marriage, a love affair, a family and an empire be in jeopardy, but lives as well.
SOURCE Showtime Networks Inc.