Friday, August 06, 2010

Kevin Kline on his Hamlet, other characters

In being interviewed about his new film The Extra Man, in which he offers us his aging playwright, Kline talks to Movieline about his attitude to theatre acting, straying inevitably ...
Can an actor have his or her work stolen?
Sure, but I think it’s a compliment. It’s emulation. I saw Hamlet once, and I thought, “This guy saw our production, because he’s stolen… not acting things, but certain costume things, certain period things. I guess I wouldn’t say “stole.” Maybe “borrowed.” I did a production of Hamlet that was quasi-modern dress. Why? The budget. Because if we did it in Elizabethan garb it would have been cheesy Elizabethan costumes. Better to get good versions of a more contemporary [style]. And also because Shakespeare, when he did it, he did it on a bare stage — which is how I directed it — and he used contemporary clothes. Little pieces of this and that might suggest a period. Olivier did Hamlet the film in black and white. Why? Because he was having a row with Technicolor. In retrospect, though, we say “Black and white! That’s the only way to do Shakespeare. Black and white is not real.” Shakespeare’s not real! People don’t talk like that! It’s not natural! But as I say, when you’re doing those parts, it’s what works for you.

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