New TV Series ‘Will’ Shows a New Side of William Shakespeare

Laurie Davidson plays WIlliam Shakespeare in TNT's new series Will.

“Will is not what you think of when you think of William Shakespeare.”-Laurie Davidson

TNT’s Will is set to premiere on July 10 and The Knockturnal hit up the show’s red carpet premiere at Bryant Park to get to know the cast and to learn more about the young William Shakespeare.

How did you prepare for your role?

Davidson: It was very difficult because so little is known about William Shakespeare, all we really have are his plays.  While preparing I just looked at his work and tried to figure out what kind of person he is just by his work and his beliefs on things, he is a religious man and cares about the world.

What do you want the audience to know about your character?

Davidson: That he is not what you think of when you think of William Shakespeare.  This is the Will before he wrote 50 plays, before he wrote 150 sonnets, he doesn’t know he is going to be the greatest writer in the world yet.  This is the beginning of his journey and he is just having an exciting time during the pursuit of his dream.

The director compared Shakespeare to a rapper in Harlem.  What do you think about that?

Davidson: Well I watched Straight Outta Compton and 8 Mile, because we have a poetry rap off in the series.  So just in terms of how those guys use their words as real weapons against their opponents I would have to say yes.

How did you prepare for your role?

Colm Meaney: I just showed  up, learned my lines, and tried to figure out what he sounded like.  I tried a few things out and settled on what you will hear.

What do you want the audience to gain from seeing Will?

Colm Meaney: Well first of all I hope they will be entertained. I hope they learn a lot about the period and about Shakespeare himself and also the history about the people around them.  And I hope they will be surprised by the visual energy of it.  It is a real spectacle.  Shekhar Kapur is an amazing director in that way.  His colors, his camera movement, it’s all very exciting.

What do you want the audience to take away?

Jamie Campbell Bower:  I want them to know that Shakespeare isn’t some stuffy character,  the man was writing about what it means to be human and that is why his stories have stood the test of time.  But our version, it’s a riot and it’s rock and roll and we are bringing it alive again which is amazing.

How did you get the role?

William Kemp: I met the director and the agents and all that, but I have worked with the director before so I had an in, but also I’ve done a lot of Shakespeare.  So  reckon I’m qualified. But a lot of people are qualified, so then it’s a role of the dice.

What was different for you this time around?

William Kemp:  I’m used to performing Shakespeare for the stage, it is written for the stage, the size of Shakespeare and the power and intensity of the verse. It is absolutely designed for a house of about 200 people and all of the sudden you have a lens with how many millions of people so it’s kind of tricky.

What should the audience know about your role?

Vauxhall Jermaine: I’ve got a job to do and it has to be done.

How did you get your role?

Vauxhall Jermaine: My manager called me and told me to stop what I was doing and that I needed to self tape.  I was actually in my friend’s bathroom and he had a screaming new born in the other room and I had to shut all the doors and read these lines, but in a week I was on my way to set and we started filming.


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