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ShakespeRe: Told

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Phil Florian, Aug 11, 2006.

  1. Phil Florian

    Phil Florian Screenwriter

    Mar 10, 2001
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    Caught this last week on BBCA. They have a mini series of made-for-TV movies adapting classic William Shakespeare plays into modern movies. They don't use his actual words (well, much anyway...) but they keep to the basic storylines in interesting and clever ways.
    This past week was "Much Ado About Nothing." It is a fun play about two ex-lovers who argue and fight their way back into love once more. There is a subplot of love triangle with younger folks. It is normally set in a post-war setting per the play (the lead males are all soldiers returning from a war) but this show they do in a modern "Live at Five" style British news show. Anchorman meets The Bard (in more ways than one, actually).
    My wife is a huge fan of the play and I am a budding fan but a huge fan of all things Shakespeare (hell, we named our newest daughter Beatrice, from this very play). There were snippets of the actual play thrown in nice ways and one of the most romantic scenes in it (yet also humorous) was a de-construction of a real Shakespeare sonnet (116) by the two leads. Very meta but also wonderfully done.
    Lots of faces that I, as a Yank, recognized. For the geek among us we have Billie Piper (of Dr. Who) as one of the young lovers, Hero. The lead male Benedict is played by a dashing Damien Lewis of "Band of Brothers," where after that very straight and serious performance here gets to play a fun lout. Sarah Parish, late of the very cool "Viva Blackpoole" plays Beatrice.
    Even folks not familiar with Shakespeare will enjoy a fun, light romantic comedy that hits all the right notes. Very much an adaptation as "Clueless" was of Jane Austen (which hit that classic novel's high points well, too) this is a fun, witty and clever romp.

    Next week they are doing Macbeth set in a modern high end restaurant kitchen. It stars James McAvoy, late of Mr. Tumnus in the Narnia movie. It looks like some gory fun, too. Sure, "Titus Andronicus" might have been better set here but Macbeth works, too. Lots of knives, anyway. Here is hoping they continue to do these modern adaptations. They are quite fun.

    Looks like they are doing "Shrew" and "Midsummer" as well (according to Wikipedia).

    Anyway, for any Yanks out there that might enjoy, check this out on Sunday night. Good stuff.
  2. Kevin Hewell

    Kevin Hewell Cinematographer

    Mar 28, 2003
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    Damian Lewis was a perfect Benedict and the woman playing Beatrice was good as well. I really liked how the Claude/Hero story worked itself out.

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