Shakespeare Solved ®

Shakespeare Solved ® is a forthcoming series of novels that covers the Bard's entire life and work.

These novels solve the mysteries surrounding Shakespeare by transporting us back in time, to walk in his shoes, and see his world through his eyes.

Only when we see Shakespeare in his original historical context can we understand what his plays and poems really mean.

This blog explains some of my ideas and discoveries, to prepare for this series of novels.

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Articles Written For:

The University of Oxford's Bodleian Library & The Royal Shakespeare Company

Most Popular Posts:

1. Shakespeare's Shylock Solved 2. Shakespeare's Othello Finally Identified 3. Shakespeare In Love Sequel Solved 4. The Real Romeo and Juliet 5. Shakespeare's Malvolio Solved 6. Shakespeare's Real Petruchio

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Christian Bale As Hamlet

Why not?

Why shouldn't Christian Bale play the Prince of Denmark, in a new film adaptation?

Andrew Garfield, the new Spider-man, would also make a fine Hamlet.

They would even be good together, Christian as Hamlet and Andrew as Laertes.

They are two of the biggest stars in the world, and their combined star power would make cinema history. Can you imagine a really epic and violent sword fight between them at the end?

What about Christian as Hamlet and Daniel Craig as the Ghost of Hamlet's father? Wouldn't that be exciting?

The reason I'm posing these questions is to make a point: what would it take to get the largest possible audience to go see a new version of Hamlet?

One answer is to put as many of the biggest stars together as possible -- to assemble a cast that is so unexpected and exciting that people who would never read or watch Shakespeare would find their way to a cinema.

A star-studded cast with Bale, Garfield, maybe even Johnny Depp, Robert Downey, Jr. and so on.

If the boy band One Direction could make cameo appearances then it might attract an even greater audience.

I am a great fan of Kenneth Branagh, Ian McKellen, Ralph Fiennes, and all the others who have made adaptations of Shakespeare. I mean no disrespect to them.

But I think all of them would agree that it is hard to get money to make a Shakespeare film, and it is hard to get audiences to go see it.

Branagh himself tried something like this in 1993, by casting Denzel Washington and Keanu Reeves (!) together with Emma Thompson, Kate Beckinsale, Robert Sean Leonard and himself in Much Ado About Nothing.

And notice Michael Keaton to the far left -- in 1993 he was hot off his very own Batman film series. Here's a precedent for an actor to play Shakespeare after playing Batman!

The film was a minor success. I think it didn't break out because the film didn't offer anything other than the play filmed for a movie screen. It was yet another adaptation.

Ralph Fiennes cast Gerard Butler in Coriolanus. Why? To bring in a new audience that may not know Shakespeare but certainly likes "that guy from 300."

The film was also a minor success. It also didn't offer anything other than an adaptation.

I even saw a film called Royal Deceit in 1994, which re-told the story of Hamlet by going back to the original Danish source -- and the young actor who played the Hamlet role (named Amled) was none other than -- Christian Bale!

It was not successful, and I think it failed because it was trying to be different, but it was just another adaptation.

As you may have read here and here -- I am trying to un-adapt Shakespeare -- to show Shakespeare like we have never known, and far from what we expect when we hear the word Shakespeare.

Recently, as I have been talking with my friends, they have so many preconceived notions of what Shakespeare is supposed to mean, that it takes them a while to understand the versions of Hamlet, Richard III and The Merchant of Venice that I have written.

So, I came up with a phrase: we have to un-Shakespeare ourselves.

Once we begin to do that, we can start to understand Shakespeare's plays as he wrote them for his audiences 400 years ago.

My versions of the plays offers more than just an adaptation -- they show the plays as they would have been performed 400 years ago, and they show who Shakespeare really was. The plays and his biography are weaved together.

The plays make no sense without his life story, and his life story makes us appreciate the plays even more.

Look at it another way: who were the actors who first performed Shakespeare's plays 400 years ago?

They were Richard Burbage, Will Kemp, and Shakespeare himself -- the biggest box office draws of the day -- on the same stage together!

So why should today be any different?

So, let's put Christian Bale and Andrew Garfield and all of the biggest names in the world on the same screen -- to offer a new Shakespeare the world has never seen.

I have even suggested that some of the greatest comedic actors, like Ricky Gervais, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Eddie Izzard, should be included to help translate the humor that is written in Shakespeare, and is all too often overlooked or misunderstood.

You have the power to make this happen. The more people buy my versions of the plays, and talk about it, and visit this blog and follow me on Facebook and Twitter, the more Shakespeare Solved will become viral.

You are the beginning a grass-roots movement to change the way we understand Shakespeare.

Thank you for all of your support!

And perhaps one day soon, you will turn around and read in the news that Christian Bale wants to play Hamlet!