Adapt a Shakespearean play for the screen in the worst possible way.

In which we discuss the worst possible ways any of Bill S’s oeuvre might be turned into a movie. Really, I can’t think of a clearer way to put this.


The Merchant of Venice, produced and directed by Mel Gibson.

And the first is already the winner.

I was going to go with an adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s Hamlet’s Father, where it turns out that King Hamlet was a pedophile who turned all of Prince Hamlet’s friends gay by molesting them.

One of these actually happened. Do you know which?

Romeo & Juliet starring Scott Baio and Erin Moran of Joanie Loves Chachi fame as a dinner theater tour ca. 1983

Othello set aboard a space station in which the title character was a black android played by Djimon Hounsou and Iago a catlike alien played by Peter Dinklage

*Merry Wives of Windsor *set in the Old West and starring a Randy Quaid as Falstaff, meant to open on Broadway but closed in out-of-town tryouts when several members of the cast got a restraining order against Randy and his wife.

King Lear with a reverse gender cast starring Judy Dench as Queen Lear and David Tennant, Matt Smith, and Eddie Redmayne as her sons, set in Victorian garb.

All of them?

“Story by William Shakespeare. Screenplay by George Lucas. Directed by Michael Bay.”

Macbeth, starring

Kermit the Frog as Macbeth,
Fozzie Bear as Banquo
Miss Piggy as Lady Macbeth
Rizzo the Rat as the Porter


Sam the Eagle as MacDuff
with Dr. Teeth and Electric Mayhem as The Witches

Macbeth: Mmmmm. So Foul and Fair a Day I have not seen, Fozzie.

Banquo: What do you mean, Kermit? Is it foul or is it fair? I can see how it might be…

Macbeth: Never mind, Fozzie.

This is supposed to be the worst idea for a Shakespeare adaptation, Cal. Not the best.

“Out, damn spot! HIIIYAAAA!”

I have seen Twelth night set in a 1970’s trailer park and and Malvolio was dressed as a drag queen in Yellow fishnet stockings.

A Midsummer nights dream as a rock opera set in Athens GA at a Music Festival. Titania runs off with Bottom and Puck and Oberon realise thier love for each other. The one fellow playing all of the parts of the Rude Mechanics was quite hysterical.

A Midsummer nights dream set in the Bayou of Lousiana with cajun music.

Taming of the Shrew set in 1920’s Memphis played by a troup of wandering players caught in a storm.

Excerpts from Taming of the Shrew where the fight scene between Kate and Petruchio was a wrestling match.

So really how absurd can this go? apparently setting the plays in Medival Europe is unheard of.

A musical adaptation of Julius Caesar. All roles played by William Shatner.
I am absolutely not claiming this idea as my own, but I’ve yet to top it.

“Julius Caesar” with Squidward as Caesar, Spongebob as Brutus, Patrick as Antony, Mr. Krabbs as Cassius and Plankton as Casca.

I saw a college production of Twelfth Night a couple of years ago that had an interesting setting: The Globe Theater. They re-created the stage of Shakespeare’s Globe (or a generic Shakespearean theater stage) on a Thrust Stage, and did a good job for a small college. The director said he chose this because in the past few years he’d seen Shakespeare set in trailer parks and submarines and post-apocalyptic future settings and all kinds of other wild and wacky backgrounds but the only thing he hadn’t seen a Shakespearean play set in was Shakespearean London.
I haven’t seen My Own Private Idaho since the 1990s. I think I’ll re-watch it and see how it’s aged.

Nope, just the one with Quaid. (It’s when his now famous insanity first began getting major press coverage.)

Some of these suggestions are very, very far from “worst.” Some of them sound kinda awesome.

In the true running for worst, imo: posts #2, #4, #6.

Cal, really? I would TOTALLY want to see a Muppet Show Macbeth!

I’m hoping it’s King Lear, because that could totally work. The other choices sound pretty horrible. Is this an episode of “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!”?
(ETA: Dang, I was so wrong.)

My nomination:

Hamlet with Keanu Reeves in the title roll, Demi Moore as Gertrude, Sandra Bullock as Ophelia. In this adaptation, directed by J.J.Abrams, Hamlet (or “Hammy” as he is known to his friends) wins the day by defeating Claudius, saves, beds, and weds Ophelia, and manages to gloriously take the crown with ecstatic support from his devoted subjects, all with the help of totally righteous dudes Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, ninjas (played by Rainn Wilson and Ed Helms), who thwart Horatio’s sudden but inevitable betrayal.

Note: Keanu Reeves has actually played Hamlet before. Win/win!

Er, “role.”

I forgot to mention, Claudius is played by Sean Connery, and Horatio by Aziz Ansari.

:: reads link ::

:: gasps in horror ::

That… that was for REAL?

Okay. It would be wrong of me to have Orson Scott Card savagely beaten by a Helena Bonham Carter model slapbot for writing that book. Yes, I’m sure it would be wrong, even though I cannot articulate a convincing argument in support of the thesis. Anyway, I am not going to have Orson Scott Card savagely beaten by a Helena Bonham Carter model slapbot for writing that book. I’m just gonna send one of HBC slapbots over to Miller’s house with instructions to do anything he says within the limits of its programming, which of course includes administering a savage beating to Orson Scott Card.

Oops, I just heard from her agent that Sandra Bullock is not available, so we’ve hired Aubrey Plaza to play Ophelia.

Im assuming post 2 is in the running for worst due to the anti-semitic views of Gibson himself. I kinda wish we could see MoV with real anti-semitism, or at least a good dose of it. We really are no different from any other age in trying to mould Shakespeare into our current sensibilities. Whilst we gain something from looking at the Plays differently from previous eras we probably lose something too.

Define “worst.” For some people, what the Troubadours do in LA is sacrilege. To the rest of us, it’s sublime.

I can: There are far better uses to which to put Helena Bonham Carter bots, and with the finite number in inventory, demand already outpaces supply.