When I first attempted to read Hamlet, before Christmas last year, it was tough as bone. Impossible to crack, secrets withheld. No thanks, I believe now, to the classic screen adaptations that mostly got it wrong. There was something rotten in the state of Hollywood, and it was interfering with my appreciation of the play.
I need to do a paper on Hamlet now, and find support in my claim that he wasn’t crazy or suicidal as the very early critics said he was. Hamlet was a kid that got in the way of his stepfather’s shady dealings, but the Prince of Demark was one step ahead of everyone the whole time.
Once I understood that, the image of Kenneth Branagh‘s face faded from my head. I began to dream up a casting for my own version of Hamlet, and how I might teach it someday. And just like that, the cinematic quality of Shakespeare’s work (that I knew had to be there all the while), and my appreciation of the play, came shining through like “the morn in russet mantle clad”. Here is whom I would cast as my Hamlet, remade Bildungsroman-style.