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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Kenneth Branagh and Tom Hiddleston


I recently read a brief quote from Kenneth Branagh that he would like to make a film version of Much Ado About Nothing with Tom Hiddleston, as Benedick.






I think it's a great idea.

I am always excited to see any film version of a Shakespeare play.

It would be even more exciting with Kenneth Branagh behind the camera -- and no doubt he would find a juicy role for himself, like Leonato.

And of course, after having seen Tom Hiddleston in the excellent Hollow Crown series -- I'm seeing him as Coriolanus soon -- it would spectacular to see him on screen as Benedick.


Coriolanus


As I have said before, he communicates the language of Shakespeare very well. I would think that under the direction of Branagh he would might arguably outdo his early Shakespeare performances.

My concern with such a film is that it is truly hard to reach a worldwide audience for Shakespeare now. 

The Hollow Crown series was not as successful as it should have been. Should it have chosen other plays? Should it have begun with Macbeth, Hamlet, Othello and King Lear -- in order to capture the world's attention? Who knows?

The recent film version of Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Joss Whedon (director of Avengers starring Mr. Hiddleston of course), also was not as successful as it should have been. I don't  think it was made in order to be a blockbuster, but still, it should have been seen more. (review here)

The recent Romeo and Juliet film also was not as successful as it should have been. (review here)

There are four new adaptations of Shakespeare's plays coming out this year -- including two Macbeths!


Marion Cotillard and Michael Fassbender as the Macbeths


I will make a bold prediction. 

Not one of them will be successful.

I don't mean to by cynical, but the fact of the matter is that it is hard to sell Shakespeare in movie theatres.

Why is it so hard? I think it is because audiences want more than just the stories. They want to understand what the stories really mean. 

As I have written before here many times, the plays can only be solved if we present them in their original historical context. To remove them from Shakespeare's Elizabethan world is to rob them of their true impact.

The Shakespeare In Love film was successful because it gave the audience the illusion of being an authentic look at who the real Shakespeare was. Audiences believe that this is the real Shakespeare and the real meaning of Romeo and Juliet. But it is an artificial story, with unbelievably false facts, and false meaning.

Back in the 1990's, Russell Crowe was offered the role of Shakespeare in that film. He turned it down because it was so artificial. He wanted to portray the "real" Shakespeare. 

Was he wrong not to do the film? Yes because it was a huge hit, and no he was not wrong because it did not even resemble the real story of Shakespeare's life.

It was recently announced that a sequel to Shakespeare In Love will be made. I fear that it will be another artificial story that further distorts and confuses audiences about who Shakespeare really was.

For fun, I have already solved the sequel. And it will use Much Ado About Nothing to frame the movie. (read it here)

I also fear that this sequel will inspire other artists to continue to make artificial stories about Shakespeare that do nothing to serve his memory properly.

I hope that Kenneth Branagh and Tom Hiddleston do make Much Ado About Nothing. It will be a fun movie, and I will of course go and see it.






But if they are truly interested in making some Shakespeare that captures the world's attention and honors his memory, I think they are heading in the wrong direction.

What do you think?

Cheers,


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