Casting of the Romeo and Juliet
William Shakespeare, sixteenth century poet, is present in almost all aspects of our society. He can be found in our textbooks, on television, and in our theaters. His plays portray our life and our culture. They are performed around the world in many different languages, and even to this date are one of the most popular plays performed in modern theaters. To show how much influence his plays have on our society today, other writers have modernized his works to attract new audiences. For example, West Side Story places Romeo and Juliet in New Your City.
During his early years in the theater, Shakespeare wrote primarily history plays, with his romantic comedies/tragedies emerging in the 1590s. One of his most popular romantic tragedies, Romeo and Juliet, was written and first acted in 1595. It is a tragedy about a perfect pair of lovers who are beautiful, young, noble, and who are rich. Romeo and Juliet, the play, no meter how many times seen, always has the audience thinking what would have happened if this or that little thing had been changed, they would still have been alive. To make a play even more influential on the audience it is extremely important to cast the perfect actors and actresses for such a popular play.
One of the plays goals is to purge the hatred between the two families, Montaque and Capulet, so that a new, more peaceful society can emerge. Friar Laurence, one who married Romeo and Juliet, is one character that is really concerned about the peace in Verona. He agrees to merry Romeo and Juliet hoping to bring peace into the city. He tries to help the lovers, but his actions lead to their suffering. A good match for the Friar would be Rade Serbedzija. He is a foreign actor who was in movies such as Eyes wide shut and The Saint. His physical appearance, long gray hair, fits for someone who will play a friar and that is the main reason he was picked for this role.
In choosing the best actor for Romeo s character, one cannot but think about Juliet s character at the same time. You have to figure out who would be a good couple instead of choosing them individually. Romeo is a young man who falls in love easily and profoundly. He is a lover who is in love with the idea of love, and doesn t really understand all aspects of it. He believes that the object of his love is unique in the world and that no other could be loved in her place. However, at the beginning of the play he is in love with Rosaline, but his feelings for her disappear when he meets Juliet. A character of Romeo would probably be played well by many young actors, but one that definitely comes to mind is Freddie Prince Jr. His physical appearance was what got my attention. He is not very well built and almost has that baby face that describes Romeo s personality in the same time. He is a pale skin, dark hair boy who played in movies such as She is all that, and has done a great job as a confused lover, such as Romeo is in this play.
Choosing a well-suited actress for Juliet s character was a lot easier once Freddie Prince Jr. was picked for Romeo. Jennifer Love Hewitt came to mind right a way. Her physical appearance is what prevailed over some of the other ones that I had in mind. She is a young petite, pretty long hair brunette that has played in Party of Five and I Know What You did Last Summer. To me, Jennifer and Freddie Prince Jr. are almost a perfect Romeo and Juliet. Juliet is perfectly feminine, but what Shakespeare does with her character, he puts her beyond the the ordinary demand of modesty. (Bloom 12) She is highly emotional girl, although a little more realistic that her lover Romeo. She does, however, take more risk and sacrifices more than Romeo does, throughout the whole play. As the game progresses though, both characters become more mature about love itself.
After Juliet, the Nurse is probably the most important female character in this play. She appears to be a comic creation (Lamb 48) but she is definitely one of the richest characters in the whole play. She is Juliet s servant but in the same time her friend and a mother figure almost. It is apparent that the Nurse knows Juliet better than her own mother does. She is vulgar and illiterate, and her speeches show the difference between the lower and upper class in Elizabethan time. It took a while to think of an actress who would do a good job as a Nurse, and after some thinking Kathy Bates came to mind. She played in several movies, with her more recent one being Titanic. She did a great job in that movie playing a role of a woman who recently got rich and who is trying to fit into the upper class. Her physical appearance also fits the Nurse s physical description, overweight, and short woman who also likes to talk too much.
Mercutio is probably one character that brings the most laughs in the play. He takes love a lot less serious than Rome does and constantly makes fun of Romeo about it. This teasing between Romeo and Mercutio highlights the difference in their moods and personalities. (Lamb 55) Mercutio s wit and humor make him much more exciting character than the moody Romeo, and actors often prefer to play his part. The part of Mercutio belongs to no one else but Ben Afleck. He is a young actor who has played in movies such as Armageddon and Boiler Room. He is very interesting actor who does a great job playing witty characters and that is the reason why he was picked for this part. His physical appearance is appealing to many young women today. Although Mercutio dies in the middle of the play, he almost attracts more attention than Romeo because of his personality.
What, drawn and talk of peace? I hate the word / as I hate hell, all Montaques, and thee. / Have at thee coward. This statement clearly shows Tybalt s hot temper and unreasonable nature. Tybalt is Juliet s cousin. Although he never gives reason, he constantly makes comments about his hatred for Montaque family. He is portrayed in the play as a gentleman and a great swordsman. Casper Van Dien is the actor chosen for Tybalt s part. One of the reasons Casper was picked is because of his physical appearance. He is a very good-looking male actor. But the more important reason for Caper to be chosen is the fact that he plays great as a negative character in movies, and since Tybalt is seen as a negative figure in the play, mainly because of his hot temper, Casper would most likely do a great job. Casper played in Starship Troopers as well as in Beverly Hills 90210.
Unlike Tybalt, Paris is a character that is extremely courteous and well-meaning person who wants to marry Juliet. Paris fallows the rules and asks Juliet s father for his daughter s hand, which is defiantly not the case with Romeo. He can be arrogant at times, but for the most part he tries to be a gentleman. However, his intentions for marring Juliet are completely different from Romeo s. Romeo is in love with Juliet and he wants to marry her for that reason, unlike Paris who wants to marry her because of her wealth, mainly. He is kind of a quite fellow and for that reason Hue Grant was chosen to play his character. Hue played in a few movies lately. One of the more recent ones would be Notting Hill with Julia Roberts, where he played a bookstore owner who falls in love with the famous actress.
It is clear that by the end of the play the parents played a huge part in their children s faith. Although Capulets (Juliet s Parents) show up more often in the play, Montaques (Romeo s Parents) are present in the conversations throughout the play. Mel Gibson will play the role of the old Capulet, while Michelle Phiffer will play Lady Capulet. On the other hand, Susan Surandon will play the role of the Lady Montaque, while Ed Harris will play the role of the Old Montaque. The intention here was not to have old parents, to make it a bit more interesting and to attract the younger audience. Shakespeare increased the importance of minor characters to emphasize oppositions and similarities between various characters in the play. (Lamb 18) He did this and with it he made the main characters personalities more clear. The idea was to try to cast as many popular characters, for both major and minor roles, from different age groups, so that a whole family can enjoy the play. I truly believe that the picks that were made in this paper would get a lot of attention from people and bring a lot of enjoyment to the audience.