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Irish Actors and Big-Screen Shakespeare | Shakespeare in Ireland

By August 29, 2015 No Comments
Ciarán Hinds as Claudius, in Hamlet, dir. Lyndsay Turner (2015). Photo by Johan Persson.

Ciarán Hinds as Claudius,
in Hamlet,
dir. Lyndsay Turner (2015).
Photo by Johan Persson.

It’s been quite a year for Irish actors and companies performing Shakespeare internationally. Late last year, Clare Dunne played opposite Harriet Walter in Phyllida Lloyd’s Henry IV at the Donmar; you’ve heard enough from me about DruidShakespeare and Mrs Shakespeare; and, at the moment, Ciarán Hinds and Jim Norton (the latter better known by many as Bishop Brennan from Father Ted) are performing in Hamlet at the Barbican (a.k.a. The One With Benedict Cumberbatch In It) as Claudius and Polonius, respectively.

But what about on-screen Shakespeare? Well, that same production of Hamlet will be screened to cinemas worldwide through the medium of NT Live on 15 October. I myself will be catching the broadcast at my local cinema in Galway, and resisting the urge to make Bishop Brennan jokes whenever Norton comes on-screen (‘He DID stab me behind the arras’ indeed). More details can be found here. And additionally, Michael Fassbender — known to some as Magneto, known to others for donning a massive papier-mache head in Frank, or known simply as ‘that actor from Kerry’ — will be starring in Macbeth in cinemas from October as well. You can have a look at the trailer here. Needless to say, it looks like an exciting one, and it’ll be interesting to see an actor like Fassbender taking on Shakespeare for the first time on the big screen.

(l-r) Marion Cotillard as Lady Macbeth, Michael Fassbender as Macbeth

(l-r) Marion Cotillard as Lady Macbeth and Michael Fassbender as Macbeth in Macbeth, dir. Justin Kurwel (2015).

New character posters, featuring Fassbender and his co-star Marion Cotillard, have been just released for the upcoming film, which you can view here via Empire. Don’t they look very pretty? Yes they certainly do.

Know of any other Irish actors taking on Shakespeare in the next while? Are you planning to see either one of these at the cinema? Let us know in the comments.

Emer McHugh

Author Emer McHugh

Emer McHugh is an Irish Research Council-funded doctoral researcher at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance at NUI Galway. Her doctoral research focuses on Shakespearean performance in Ireland 1969-2016, and she is generally interested in the history of Shakespeare in performance and culture; early modern performance studies; audience/reception studies; modern and contemporary Irish theatre; and theatre history and historiography.

More posts by Emer McHugh

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