If all you have ever seen of Shakespeare’s Richard III is Laurence Olivier’s limping, leering, badly made-up monstrosity of a king, then you’re going to have to revise your idea of this most fabulous villain. Richard as Shakespeare wrote him may have been bad, and he may have been twisted, but in his newest iteration he’s far from unattractive. Given that he’s being played by Benedict Cumberbatch, that should hardly be surprising.
The actor has taken on the role of Richard in the BBC’s adaptation of the play as part of the final section of their series The Hollow Crown, which covers all of Shakespeare’s “War of the Roses” plays, beginning with Richard II. Cumberbatch is just the latest in a long line of excellent contemporary actors to take on parts in The Hollow Crown: everyone from Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, and Ben Whishaw to David Suchet and Rory Kinnear have made appearances in the long-running production. The second half of the series has been subtitled The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses, and will pick up with Henry VI, Part 1.
Cumberbatch looks like a good choice for Richard, obviously playing him as far more rugged (and realistic) than Olivier’s somewhat cartoonish performance. The actor will also be in good company, with a supporting cast that includes Judi Dench, Keeley Hawes, Sophie Okonedo, and Tom Sturridge. It will definitely be interesting to see how this one pans out.
The next section of The Hollow Crown will not be airing until 2016, with no American release date as yet in place. That means it’s going to be a long while before we get to see Cumberbatch request to trade his kingdom for a horse. Until then, you can whet your appetite for another dose of Shakespearean shenanigans by checking out the actor’s new look. Hail to the King?
Source: The Playlist