Wednesday, 4 May 2011

A Midsummer Night's Dream (As Cast By Me)

{Also known as the post where Bette gets to ramble on and on about Shakespeare in relation to classic movies :-D}

My english teacher set me a great task the other day. We are studying "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by William Shakespeare in class and she told us all to cast the play with actors we wanted and then write a letter to one of the key actors asking them to be in your adaptation. Now, this seemed to me like a great blog post to do, and it will give me the chance to write a letter involving random behind the scenes movie knowledge that might scare the rest of my classmates.

After mi amigo (who braved The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie with me the other day *shudder*, see the P.S. at the bottom of the post) asked the teacher if the actors could be dead, I set about my work. I knew that I didn't want the cast to be the same as previous movie adaptations. And after a little conversation with my mother (serious craziness went on during this conversation!) this was my final main cast list:

  • Queen Titania: Ingrid Bergman
  • King Oberon: Cary Grant
  • Hermia: Elizabeth Taylor
  • Lysander: Tony Curtis
  • Helena: Katharine Hepburn
  • Demetrius: James Stewart
  • Puck: Henry Travers (Clarence the angel in It's A Wonderful Life)
  • Nick Bottom: Steve Martin
  • King Egeus: Lawrence Olivier (older years)
As you can see, there is one outlier in the cast, but Steve Martin cracks me up so much :-)

Here is the letter I wrote to Elizabeth Taylor asking her to play the part of Hermia. Just to tell you, this version is slightly more full of classic movie references than the one I handed in at school, but this is how I would have liked it.

Dear Elizabeth Taylor, 
I am writing to you to ask you to play the part of Hermia in my upcoming screen adaptation of "A Midsummer Nights Dream". My casting director and I think you are perfect for the role. Your way of portraying such heartbreak in so many of your films (in a good way) leads us to beleive that you would be more than capable of acting Hermia. Of course, as the director I will have to look into the character with you and help you really empathise with her. 
You may know me more as a supporting player in major motion pictures than as a director, in fact, this will be my debut in the directorial department. You may also have seen me in family portraits in fan magazines as I come from a long line of actors. The two movies you will know me best for are probably "The Women" and "Citizen Kane" in which I played a yoga instructor and Orson Welles's third cousin respectively. Although I am deeply proud of these achievements, I feel I will be more satisfied when behind the camera. 
Your fellow cast includes such big names as Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart and Ingrid Bergman. I had wanted to cast Richard Burton opposite you as Lysander, but knowing that relations between the two of you have not been brilliant over the past few months, I thought it best to cast someone else. I have decided to cast Tony Curtis as Lysander instead. This role should hopefully give him a great start in "serious movies". 
There should be no problem getting the others in the intended cast to play their roles. Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman have already agreed to play their characters and Jimmy Stewart is also in on the picture. I have tried to contact Kate Hepburn, but she is holidaying with Spencer Tracy on some unknown island and goodness knows when she will be back. But if she fails us, we will always have Rosalind Russel to call on. 
Just in case you where wondering, the picture is to be filmed in black and white. I had hoped for Technicoclour, but the the budget the studio has given me does not have enough left to cover that. As you can see, the cast will set the studio back a little... 
Please think seriously about this film, we are going to stick to all of Shakespeare's dialogue, and the period. The sets will consist of intricate palace backdrops and beautiful on-location scenes in moonlit forests. 
Bette Barrymore of Warner Brother's Studios

I hope you liked it!


P.S. I did watch The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie with my friend the other day... It was rated a 12 so we both thought it would be fine to watch as we are both over twelve. Maggie Smith was great in it and it was overall a good film, but both my friend and I will have a phobia of art teachers forever after watching this film.


Audrey said...

Bette Barrymore? Does that perhaps mean that you are related to a certain Lionel, John, Ethel, etc.? ;)

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