Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Baz Luhrmann Directs HAMLET!

Transcript of a story meeting: Baz Luhrmann (director), William Shakespeare (author)

BL: You've got a great story here, Willie.
WS: Will.
BL: Whatever. A great story.  I'll confess--I'm not sure what it's all about, but between you and I--
WS: "between you and me"
BL: Whatever.  Between the two of us, I think we can, you know, clear up some of the confusion, inject a little ... animation!
WS: Animation?
BL: People like to be animated at the movies.  Excited.  You know?
WS: I know.  There's more than one kind of excitement, though.
BL: Whatever.  Now, first thing ... we need a frame story ...
WS: A frame story?
BL: Yeah, that's where--
WS: I know what a frame story is: I used one in The Taming of the Shrew.  But in Hamlet--
BL: Every now and then we'll have Hamlet's brother come out and explain things ...
WS: Hamlet doesn't have a brother.  He's alone.  That's the point ...
BL: Let's see [thinks] ... we'll call him ... Omelet.  That'll keep the breakfast thing going with the names.
WS: The breakfast thing ...
BL: Next ... you've got just too many words here, Willie.  I mean, really, "To be or not to be, that is the question"?  I've cut that whole thing.
WS: Why?
BL: It doesn't, you know, move the thing forward; it just sort of ... sits there.
WS: Kind of the point, Baz.
BL [ignoring]: And we definitely gotta have more sex in this thing.  Here ... look at this scene where  Hamlet goes to talk to his mother after that play-within-a-play thingy--which, Willie, I kind of liked, though we're going to add some cgi there--make it look more real.  Anyway, I was thinking that when Hamlet goes in to see his mother, he catches her doing it with Claudius.  That would explain his rage.
WS: That doesn't make any sense ...
BL: Who cares? No one will notice if it's really good sex ...  Oh, and we definitely gotta have Ophelia doing it with Hamlet--and maybe with her brother, too, though not at the same time, of course.  Even my audiences aren't ready for that.
WS: Why?
BL: It'll explain why she goes crazy and stabs her father.
WS: He's dead already.
BL: I changed that.  Oh, and I gave her a mother, too.  She's doing it with Laertes, too.  Another reason Ophelia's crazy--she's jealous of her own mother.  [Pause.]  This is getting good!  What if Ophelia's mother is doing it with Gertrude, too!
WS: I'm not feeling well.
BL: I love the pirate thingy, by the way--where the pirates grab Hamlet.  I've got Johnny Depp on board for that sequence. ... Get it ... "on board"?
WS: I get it.  But we don't actually see that happen ... the pirates ...
BL: You crazy, Will?  Not see the pirates!  I've got a whole sea battle planned ... a kraken ... everything.
WS: I'm really not feeling well.
BL: Then, at the end, we're gonna bring the ghost back.  Since almost everyone's dead at the end, we're going to end with a big ghost dance.  I've got Kanye booked ... Timberlake and Samberg will bring in a little comic relief--which, Willie, this thing really needs; they'll do a version of their "Dick in a Box" song--"Ham. in a Box."  Get it--the coffin?  Everyone will go home happy.
WS: O, that this too too solid flesh would melt--
BL: I cut that thingy too.
WS: Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd

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