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Du Shakespeare

09/03/2006 - par Mark Tungate

Iknow you French guys think that Michel Audiard was the greatest screenwriter that ever lived, but I have another contender : William Shakespeare. You may think (as I did) that Bill never wrote for the screen - but we were both wrong. In the United States, a scriptwriter known for creating Hollywood blockbusters and TV cop series has teamed up with a Shakespearian scholar to bring a forgotten play to life.

The story reads just like a movie : Gary Taylor, an academic and Shakespeare enthusiast with a penchant for black nail varnish, reckons he has discovered a missing Shakespeare play. It's called The History of Cardenio, and although its existence has been known for centuries, it wasn't considered good enough to be included in Shakespeare's collected works, which were published in 1623.

To prove that the play is worth reconsidering, Taylor partnered with David Black, a modern screenwriter, to rewrite the piece for a modern audience. Black was so keen on the idea that he invited a few friends to a house in Greenwich Village to read the play. They included Sam Waterston, Richard Dreyfuss, Blair Brown and Whoopi Goldberg. Yes, you heard me correctly : Whoopi Goldberg.

Presumably, if the reading went well, and Shakespeare's words sound like they have the makings of a Hollywood hit, we can look forward to a film version very soon. And probably several sequels. Let's face it : they won't be any worse than Mission : Impossible 3.

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Du Shakespeare

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