The performers interviewed represent a Who's Who of stage and screen actors (between them they have seventeen Oscar nominations), and range across all generations. They include Judi Dench talking about her acclaimed Juliet in Franco Zeffirelli's 1960 production; Ian McKellen whose Macbeth at the RSC in the 1970s is still considered iconic; Helen Mirren who has played Cleopatra three times; Kevin Spacey bringing an American perspective to playing Richard II; and Jude Law on his Hamlet, which was a hit in the West End and on Broadway in 2009. Also interviewed are Brian Cox, Ralph Fiennes, Rebecca Hall, Derek Jacobi, Adrian Lester, Tim Pigott-Smith, Patrick Stewart and Penelope Wilton. Each actor talks through their role, scene by scene, with refreshing candour and in forensic detail. The result is a mini masterclass in playing that role, aimed at other actors, students of Shakespeare, and audiences of the plays.
JULIAN CURRY is an actor, best known for his role as Claude Erskine-Brown in Rumpole of the Bailey on television. He has acted widely in Shakespeare, frequently with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He now lives in Italy.
- Brian Cox on Titus Andronicus in Deborah Warner's visceral RSC production - Judi Dench on being directed by Franco Zeffirelli as a twenty-three-year-old Juliet - Ralph Fiennes on Shakespeare's least sympathetic hero Coriolanus - Rebecca Hall on Rosalind in As You Like It, directed by her father, Sir Peter - Derek Jacobi on his hilariously poker-backed Malvolio for Michael Grandage - Jude Law on his Hamlet, a palpable hit in the West End and on Broadway - Adrian Lester on a modern-dress Henry V at the National, during the invasion of Iraq - Ian McKellen on his Macbeth, opposite Judi Dench in Trevor Nunn's RSC production - Helen Mirren on a role she was born for, and has played three times: Cleopatra - Tim Pigott-Smith on Leontes in Peter Hall's Restoration Winter's Tale at the National - Kevin Spacey on his high-tech, modern-dress Richard II - Patrick Stewart on Prospero in Rupert Goold's arctic Tempest for the RSC - Penelope Wilton on Isabella in Jonathan Miller's 'chamber' Measure for Measure