“I want people to take away that he developed a way to speak to street people that were angry. “- Shekhar Kapur
Director of TNT’s Will, Shekhar Kapur and other members of the cast took the time to chat with The Knockturnal at their red carpet premiere on Tuesday. They told us about their characters, why Shakespeare is so relevant today and the parallels between the young poet and a street rapper in Harlem.
How did you find your inspiration as a director?
Kapur: One thing I look for in a cast is how entertaining they are and how much of themselves are they willing to give to me? It isn’t enough to just be a good actor.
Shakespeare is usually performed on a stage, how did you translate that to a screen?
Kapur: The most important thing is that Shakespeare is shown as real. He is contemporary, he was just a young man like everyone else, insecure and unsure of himself. You really want to get into the audiences psyche and get them to see that guy is like them.
What do you want the audience to take away?
Kapur: As I studied him I learned he was a man of the streets. If Shakespeare was around today he would be a rapper in Harlem, because he was a rapper of his time. The language he used was actually a slang of his time. It was a street language and I want people to take away that he developed a way to speak to street people that were angry. He developed a way to speak to the people on the streets about their lives, and that is what rap is about. It deals with anger issues and its melodramatic.
Can you talk about your character?
Ewen Bremner: I play a guy called Richard Topcliffe, who is vengeful, vicious and mean. He is the most hated man in England and the most dangerous man in England
What should the audience know about your character?
Ewen Bremner: I just want the audience to watch it and figure out whatever they want about my character. I don’t want to tell them anything, but that he is a villain and try to be a little subversive and see him as human, not just a monster.
Tell me about your character.
Max Bennett: Southwell is the most wanted man in England at this point he is a Jesuit poet, and of course it was illegal and punishable by death to be a Catholic priest in England. He is using writing to fortify the faithful in England, he is kind of leading the counter-reformation resistance against the Protestant depression. And he is Will’s cousin.
Is this your real accent?
Max Bennett: Is this me real accent? [laughs] Yes, I’m from London.
What do you want the audience to receive from Will?
Craig Pearce: I want the audience to take William Shakespeare off his boring pedestal, and put him back where he belongs, with the people. At one point this famous person was a 25-year old kid trying to work out what he was going to do with his life like all of us today.