Ah, the romantic comedy: A genre when presented as an evening’s viewing option has sent many an otherwise lovey-dovey couple to opposite ends of the couch. I have to say the romantic comedy has never been my first stop when Netflix surfing. Actually, it’s rarely my choice at all, unless When Harry Met Sally is on (the last great romantic comedy, IMO) or the least appreciated but my personal favorite of the Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks vehicles: Joe vs. the Volcano. [The guy falls for different versions of the SAME woman; how much more romantic (and comedic) can you get?]
William Shakespeare knew a thing or two about romantic comedies. In fact, he invented the genre! The formula of boy meets girl, they run up against some obstacles, surmount said obstacles with the help of a jocular coterie of friends, and live happily ever after: That’s Shakespeare! And perhaps the most seminal of his romantic comedies is Much Ado About Nothing. The plot and characters gave rise to many adaptations and permutations. There was the beautifully hilarious big-screen adaptation in 1993 with real-life couple-at-the-time Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson. More recently, in 2012, there was another lovely big-screen adaptation, this time by Joss Whedon, set in modern times but true to Shakespearean language. And between those two, in 2005, our very own Damian Lewis starred as Benedick in a BBC adaptation of the story, set in modern times with modern language, for their series Shakespeare ReTold.
“My heroes were all in the theatre. I wanted to be part of that great tradition that ran back to Garrick and Macready and Kean. That’s what I wished for, when I was asleep and dreaming.” – Damian Lewis in an interview with Telegraph
In case you missed it, we talked about Damian’s drama school experience last week here.
Damian graduates from The Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1993. Ken Rea, Damian’s drama teacher at Guildhall, describes Damian arriving at drama school “an articulate, well-mannered young man with a bit of a polite façade,” and leaving with “the complete raw vulnerability that really grabs you as an audience.”
As soon as he graduates, Damian starts off at Birmingham Rep — where Laurence Olivier also started his career in 1926 — with two plays, namely Rope and Romeo and Juliet in 1993 followed by Moliere’s School for Wives at the Almeida Theatre in London in 1994.
I told you in our anniversary post that one person that has been here since the inception of the blog is Lewisto. He is the one that named this blog (Oh, yes! He said: “You are a big fan and you will be doing this for fun so why not call it Fan Fun with Damian Lewis?”) as well as the one who brushed away my worries about fan blog possibly being a crazy idea (Oh, yes! He said:“Some people love golf. You love Damian Lewis. What’s the difference?”). Just being the rational guy that he is, he suggested I run with this only if I thought I could commit for at least two years so it would be worth the effort. I said I could do that and so this anniversary feels extra special.
In case you missed it, Lewisto guest-blogged earlier here about why he is a Damian Lewis fan! And, weeks before our anniversary, he told me he now wanted to guest-blog about why he is a Fan Fun with Damian Lewis fan 😀 Well, what would you do if your partner asked to write a love letter to your blog? Yes, exactly! Go ahead, hun! Continue reading “Raising a Toast for Fan Fun with Damian Lewis”
Today’s Top Moment of the year is one that still comes up in Damian’s Twitter timeline, many months after it was first released, a brilliant short video of Damian reading Marc Antony’s “Friends, Romans, countrymen” speech from Julius Caesar for The Guardian’s video series Shakespeare Solos. Several lit profs have tweeted thanks to Damian, remarking that they use his speech when they teach the play. Actually literature professors and acting teachers alike have found something remarkable in Damian’s prescient delivery. It’s a master class, both on the role of the speech within the play and on acting.
Today’s throwback takes us to, probably, the most famous star-crossed lovers in history… Oh, no, sorry, I am not talking about Carrie and Brody 😀
Damian Lewis is no stranger to Shakespeare. He played Romeo in Birmingham Rep’s Romeo and Juliet, and Hamlet in Hamlet in the Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park, London in 1993 and 1994, respectively, as a fresh graduate of Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Then he did his Broadway debut as Laertes to Ralph Fiennes’ Hamlet in Almeida Theatre’s production in 1995. Damian also performed as Posthumous in Cymbeline and Don John in Much Ado About Nothing with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He also brought to life a lovely Benedick on BBC’s Shakespeare Retold: Much Ado About Nothing. Damian took on the role of Lord Capulet in a 2013 big screen adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. And, finally, he kicked off Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday Celebrations in 2014 at Guildhall Library reading the great man’s first five sonnets! Continue reading “Throwback Thursday to Damian Lewis in Romeo & Juliet *UPDATED*”