The Hollow Crown is an interesting series on the BBC in which big names get together and adapt some of Shakespeare’s History plays. For those who don’t know, Shakespeare’s history plays are fucking awesome and, excluding the works of Marlowe, supply some of the best places to find that beautiful, wanton Renaissance Lit violence all the cool kids love.
The last grouping found Ben Wishaw playing Richard II (maybe not such a great one violence-wise, but the poetry is amazing!) and Jeremy Irons as old Henry IV in Henry IV: Parts 1 & 2. Meanwhile Tom Hiddleston played young and fun Henry (in party mode, his name is Prince Hal) in Henry IV: Parts 1 & 2 AND Henry V. I really want to see those three Henry plays all together like that.
Anyway, on its next go around the series will have to dig a bit deeper into the Shakespearean canon. Not King John deep, but pretty deep. They have an easy win with Richard III, but after that they have to start doing the Henry VI plays.
A lot of people haven’t read the Henry VI plays, which is a real shame because while kind of unwieldy and lacking much of a narrative center, they are a total blast when it comes to killing off characters. Shakespeare just kills the shit out of everyone. Plus, you get one of the meanest, nastiest depictions of Joan of Arc ever written - by one of the greatest writers ever. It’s awesome.
There are three of these plays, but The Hollow Crown is only adapting the first two, which is some bullshit. Seriously, I’m bummed out about it.
What a digression! This was supposed to be all about how hot Benedict Cumberbatch looks as Richard III, one of literature’s most deplorable hunchbacks. Well… pretty hot, right? That Cumberbatch is a Cumbercatch!