Shakespeare’s Quadrophenia- Part 1

October 22, 2012 at 11:29 pm 2 comments

This summer Ian Manson, who was the director of the ‘making of’ doc for my last film The Power, asked me to attend a meeting with his colleagues who were interested in making a feature film adaptation of a Shakespeare play – King John.  Now I had heard of King John but had never seen it performed and had never read it. So in advance of the meeting I started to read it. It was heavy going, partly because the plot was extremely complex, and I have to admit I gave up before the end. However I did clock a unique and compelling character in The Bastard.

I am not a great fan of Shakespeare on film. I admired the cleverness of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet, always had a soft spot for Orson Welles’ adaptations of Macbeth and Othello, and remember fondly the Russian Hamlet. But Olivier’s and Branagh’s adaptations never worked for me, so I am a sceptic when it comes to Shakespeare on film.

However, I thought I should hear them out. At the first meeting I was told that the play had been put on recently at the Unicorn theatre where it sold out every night. This is partly due to the fact that the play is rarely put on. The idea of the adaptation was to set the play in the first world war, which I believe was the theatre adaptation as well. With 2014 coming up, and the expectation of a great memorial to 1914 being mounted, I thought that this idea had some legs. I said I was interested, and would wait to hear more.

A couple of weeks later, Ian summoned me to a second meeting, and now I was told of a new idea: the play would be adapted to the 1960s, as a replay of the famous battles between the mods and rockers. The film would cover the historical rise of mod culture, and have a rich soundtrack of 60s songs. Now this idea lit me up. This was clever and original and I thought could be a winner.

I went to film school with Franc Roddam, who directed Quadrophenia, and I had noticed that his film has grown in stature year after year. It is still popular 30 years after it was made. The idea of making Shakespeare’s Quadrophenia is intriguing and we are now starting to raise the finance to get it made.

It turns out that Shakespeare is the most credited person on IMDB, and King John was the first of his plays ever to be filmed – in 1899 I am told. So I hope that in 2013, only 114 years later, we will be able to do the remake.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Premshay Hermon  |  October 23, 2012 at 8:30 am

    This is something to look forward to.
    If you’ll need a production assistant…

    Reply
  • 2. markforstater  |  October 23, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Hi Premshay,

    Thanks for your offer. I hope to be able to take you up on it. We are planning for a spring or summer 2013 shoot, subject to raising the finance.

    Regards, Mark

    Reply

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