Skip to main content

The Mudfight in Hoffman's Midsummer Night's Dream

Liane Bonin reports on the mudfight in Michael Hoffman's film of A Midsummer Night's Dream:

[T]he greatest misery was left to [Calista] Flockhart and costar Anna Friel. The two were set to engage in an elaborate mud fight, but no one had checked to see if the grittiness of the mud was costume-friendly. ''It got inside their corsets, so every time they moved, it was like sandpaper taking their skin off,'' says Hoffman. Worst of all, the women had to repeat the scene, which meant a four-hour process of cleaning up before getting tossed into the skin-searing mud pool for a second time. ''They had to be dragged to the mud pit, it was so miserable,'' says Hoffman. ''The last 45 minutes of those four hours was spent just coaxing them into it.''

Popular posts from this blog

Accurate List of Hamlet's Soliloquies

Though Hamlet's "To be or not to be" speech is his fourth soliloquy, many websites call it his third. They're skipping the twenty-line speech that follows his interview with the Ghost, which in my view is a particularly bad mistake since Hamlet's monomaniacal vow there is at the heart of his tragedy.

The internet's cosmic sinkhole of misinformation will never be filled, but it's worth throwing some dirt in when we can, so here's an accurate list of Hamlet's soliloquies, with a short description of where they occur and what they say, along with a few observations.

Titus Andronicus on YouTube

Julie Taymor directs Anthony Hopkins in Titus.
Scenes from Julie Taymor's 1999 Film
Overimaginated has posted all of Julie Taymor's Titus (1999), with Anthony Hopkins as Titus, Jessica Lange as Tamora, Harry J. Lennix as Aaron, Alan Cumming as Saturninus, Laura Fraser as Lavinia, Colm Feore as Marcus, James Frain as Bassianus, Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Chiron, and Matthew Rhys as Demetrius. Here's a selection from act three, in which Titus tells his sorrows to the stones, and here's the play's gory climax.Other
The Reduced Shakesperare Company does Titus Andronicus as a cooking show

Shakespeare-Movie Soliloquies and Orson Welles's Chimes at Midnight

Directors usually handle Shakespearean soliloquies in three ways: (1) they have actors speak directly to the audience, as they would have on the Elizabethan stage; (2) they have actors speak to the air, as yammering on Bluetooth-enabled cellphones; or (3) they use a voice-over, as if we were wire-tapping the characters' brains.
Each strategy has its advantages.
Speaking directly to the audience works well for villains, who share their nasty schemes, preparing us to watch with horror as they dupe unknowing victims. The technique also allows for dark comedy: for example, Ian McKellan's Richard III and Harry J. Lennix's Aaron (in Julie Taymor's Titus) act as satanic stand-up comedians, terrifying us and making us laugh with the same speech.
Having actors talk to themselves produces a different effect, allowing us to pretend we're hearing a character's inward thoughts. This works in both comedies and tragedies. In a comedy, we laugh—or chuckle inwardly—when we hear Em…