…Joss Whedon’s Malibu kitchen, living room and back yard to be exact. Whedon’s modern adaptation on Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing opens in theaters today and shows what a filmmaker can do with 12 days of vacation [between shooting huge blockbusters for Hollywood] and a micro-budget. Whedon told the LA Times that “part of making the movie wasn’t just reconnecting with my artistic roots, it was reconnecting with my house and my friends. It was a true homecoming. It was the best way to get them all to spend 12 days with me.”
While outdoor theaters around the world prep for their summer Shakespeare productions and Whedon’s Much Ado hits the multi-plexes, here’s a look back at recent film adaptations that also took a contemporary spin on the Bard’s work.
Ethan Hawke stars in this modern day adaptation of Shakespeare’s immortal story about Hamlet’s plight to avenge his father’s murder in New York City.
Mekhi Phifer and Josh Hartnett star in this updated version of Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’ with a young cast, set in a high school and centered around basketball player Odin.
Maybe a modern take is not your thing? Try the Best Picture Oscar winner Shakespeare in Love starring Gywneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes. This is our Friday Staff Summer Movie Pick of the week too.
Alissa Arnold, our digital team summer intern, explains why she picked this 1998 classic.
The film is both romantic and comedic as it follows the forbidden love of young playwright, Will Shakespeare, and a woman of nobility, Viola. As their affair unfolds, the couple breaks social boundaries such as gender roles and class structure in order to do be with one another and follow their passions. Having a love for Shakespeare’s work, this fictional tale draws parallels to his authentic work that creates a captivating story.
Shakespeare in Love
- It's the first day of rehearsals and Ned and the rest of the Admiral's men have returned just in time to save the show—and restore the balance of power. In this scene: Will Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes), Philip Henslowe (Geoffery Rush), Hugh Fennyman (Tom Wilkinson), Ned Alleyn (Ben Affleck)
- During rehearsals for is still unfinished play, Shakespeare must break to write what shall soon be a famous sonnet. In this scene: Will Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes), Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush), Viola De Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow), Ned Alleyn (Ben Affleck)
- Will struggles with the story and title for his yet-unwritten new play. In this scene: Will Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes), Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush), Christopher Marlowe (Rupert Everett)