I’m not sure about everyone else, but I’m pretty interested to watch this year’s Romeo and Juliet film, the one starring Douglas Booth and Hailee Steinfeld, written by Academy Award winner Julian Fellowes, when it comes out in theaters. This is due to a number of reasons:
ONE: It is a “traditional” retelling of the story
Which basically means that they are going to depict it in the time and setting that Mr. Shakespeare wrote it for. Now, the only other Romeo and Juliet film that I know is the 1996 one that Baz Luhrmann directed, with a very young Leonardo DiCaprio and a very young (and very hot) Claire Danes in the leading roles. That one was a modern interpretation of the story, but kept most of the dialogue it adapted intact. Interesting as it was, the appeal and the beauty of the setting just didn’t come through. But on the subject of keeping dialogue intact-
TWO: They are not using Mr. Shakespeare’s dialogue
Along with half of the world, I gasped at this news. How dare they! How dare they defile Mr. Shakespeare’s perfect work, his beautifully-crafted words! Treason! I say “treason”!
Calm down. Julian Fellowes won the Oscar for best screenplay in 2002. He should know what he’s doing, right? I cannot yet comment on this,not until I have watched and properly evaluated the writing of the film.
(now on the subject of Academy Award winners adapting classic works: I would pay good money to see Quentin Tarantino’s adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. Someone from Hollywood who is reading this, please make this happen)
THREE: They are selling it as “The Most Powerful Love Story Ever Told”
They are also selling it as a film from “The Greatest Playwright Ever Known”, but considering that Mr. Shakespeare has more writing credits to his name on IMDB than any other writer, living or dead, I wouldn’t want to contest that.
But seriously – the most powerful love story ever told? Let me break down the premise of the play for you: boy meets girl, girl meets boy, they fall in love, then everyone dies. Now, seriously – the most powerful love story ever told?
If Taylor Swift’s hit song is anything to go by, I think Mr. Shakespeare has successfully trolled the whole world, even after he’s been dead for 400 years. No, really, YouTube videos and elaborate practical jokes notwithstanding: William Shakespeare is the greatest troll history has ever known. He set the most brilliantly-crafted words of dialogue to some of the weirdest stories that people ever took seriously.
A love story? Everyone dies! A historical play about a tyrannical king? Let’s adore him! Writing his will? “I leave to my wife, Anne Hathaway, my second-best bed”, he writes. Whatever the hell that even means.
So get this: the greatest writer of the English language never wrote a single original plot in his life; ended pretty much every single one of his plays with everyone dead; and simply adored sex jokes.
I kid you not – read the very first scene that opens Romeo and Juliet, and you’ll understand what I mean. Also, he is said to have made the very first “yo momma” joke. It goes something like this:
Villain, what hast thou done?
That which thou canst not undo.
Thou hast undone our mother.
Villain, I have done thy mother.
So here’s to you, Bard of Avon; eminent playwright; esteemed fellow; and greatest troll of them all. You have trolled the whole world over, and in doing so won them all.