Thu
Nov 11 2010 5:13pm

Brush Up Your Shakespeare: Henry V To Get Post-Apocalyptic SF Treatment

Henry5In what seems a strangely inevitable move, Shakespeare’s classic Henry V is going to be filmed as a post-apocalyptic SF/action movie titled Henry5. As of now, Michael Caine, Ray Winstone, and Derek Jacobi are attached to act in it, which lends it a proper air of Britishness. Gerard Depardieu is also attached, but considering the French King is a character, that makes a bit of sense. The presence of Vinnie Jones, most famous for getting thrown out of a soccer game quicker than anyone else in history as well as a series of increasingly terrible action movies, makes one wonder whether the Shakespeare and the science fiction are going to give way completely to the action.

The talent behind the scenes have a loose association with Ridley Scott, which doesn’t necesssarily mean anything in this case—since Ridley Scott doesn’t have any direct connection to this movie—but is a slightly encouraging bit of reflected glory. Also, it bears considering, as nearly every news piece about Henry5 has pointed out, that Shakespeare and science fiction have met before, on Forbidden Planet, and Forbidden Planet is (to use a technical industry term) awesome.

Henry5’s future depends on whether, at the American Film Market, it can get enough buyers from enough different regions interested enough to buy distribution rights to give the filmmakers sufficient money to proceed. This process is by no means automatic, and occasionally takes time, so the cast might end up changing due to scheduling conflicts. Personally, as a lover of SF, bad SF, and Shakespeare, I wish the filmmakers the best, because seeing this with a bunch of cranky theatre people sounds like an extremely fun evening.


Danny Bowes is a playwright, filmmaker and blogger. He is also a contributor to nytheatre.com and Premiere.com.

5 comments
F Shelley
1. FSS
Huh - well, you know, I have an album I got from Rhapsody of William Shatnet and Leonard Nimoy performing songs, and poems and what-not. There's a track of William Shatner doing some selected bits of Henry V to a background of cheesy 60's sound clips.

Classic stuff.

There's also a track of Nimoy singing "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins"

Camp at it's very finest!

As to the point of the post, I'm not a fan of taking Shakespeare and making it modern, or in this case, setting it in SciFi settings. Just not my thing, and Lord knows everyone does it.
Scot Taylor
2. flapdragon
Henry V got an SF treatment with Patrick friggin' Stewart and Brent Spiner in the TNG episode "The Defector," and as far as I'm concerned that's all it needs. If "Henry5" had gotten Sir Patrick involved, I would've been more interested. Derek Jacobi's great, but his role as the Chorus in the Branagh film was pretty much definitive; he doesn't need to do any more "Henry" films.
Bigun
3. Bigun
My issue is the number of nearly illiterate Syfy watchers who are going to be wondering how they missed Henry 1-4....
Lis Riba
4. lisriba
On the topic of post-apocalyptic adaptations of Elizabethan plays, I simply must mention the phenominal version of Middleton's Revenger's Tragedy, filmed by Alex Cox and starring Christopher Eccleston, Derek Jacobi, and Eddie Izzard.

Truly awesome and highly recommended.
Wesley Parish
5. Aladdin_Sane
Likewise, on the theme of the post-apocalyptic adaptions of Elizabethan plays - I met Mike Johnson, the author of one such adaption, a novel, in 1987, during my first year at uni. It was titled Lear - The Shakespeare Company plays Lear in Babylon.

I seriously doubt it would ever be considered suitable material for a screenplay. Mike Johnson makes explicit what William Shakespeare leaves implicit ...

Mind you, a lot of Shakespeare's plays adapt quite easily to a post-apocalytpic world ...

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