Richard II or Bolingbroke: Potential Work Lined Up for Damian?
by Jake Coyle | SF Gate | February 2, 2018
by Dalya Alberge | The Guardian | August 12, 2017
Veteran director James Ivory claims financiers think he’s crazy for attempting the Shakespeare adaptation of Richard II. Despite 50 years of critical acclaim and Oscar recognition, plus British actors Tom Hiddleston and Damian Lewis lined up to star in his production, financiers are refusing to part with their money. “They look at you like you’re crazy,” he said. “There is an assumption that there is no money to be made from such an investment. A Shakespeare film does not grab the hearts of financiers, I can tell you,” he says. “At the moment I’m very optimistic it will happen.”
For the past several years and after stalled efforts, Ivory still hopes to direct a film version of Shakespeare’s Richard II, with a script penned by Chris Terrio (“Argo,” ”Justice League”) and envisions feature roles for Tom Hiddleston as Richard II and Damian Lewis as Bolingbroke. Not all that unheard of since according to Damian’s filmography, he voiced Bolingbroke on a Richard II radio broadcast. In fact, James Ivory proposes Damian for the role of Bolingbroke in this March, 2018 video.
Both actors have extensive experience of Shakespeare. Hiddleston, who starred in the BBC’s award-winning The Night Manager is playing Hamlet this month in a Branagh stage production. Lewis appeared with the Royal Shakespeare Company before television dramas such as Homeland, Wolf Hall and Billions.
Ivory knows exactly how he would adapt Richard II for the big screen: “It would make a fantastic thing visually to do a medieval film in 3D. We know very little about the medieval age. You read books about it. You go to museums and see the armour and so forth, but that’s really all we know about it. When it’s delivered as a film, you learn a lot.”
He would shoot some of it in Westminster Hall, whose magnificent hammer-beam roof – the largest medieval timber roof in northern Europe – was commissioned in 1393 by Richard II.
And there has been a proliferation of royal dramas on our small screens in the past couple of years, from Wolf Hall to Victoria, to more modern versions of the British monarchy such as The Crown and an imagined future in King Charles III.