If he were alive today, he'd be a staff writer

The other day I was listening to a movie review on NPR.  I don’t know what the movie was, but the reviewer, in the course of panning it, explained that some secondary characters, however good, just don’t make good leads.  He said, “Some really terrific supporting players maybe aren’t cut out to be stars. A ‘Romeo and Juliet’ spinoff called Mercutio and the Nurse wouldn’t cut it.”

WHAT????  Like Hell it wouldn’t!

I want to see it!  Pamela?  Want to write for TV?

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Site administrative account, so probably Corwin, Felix or DD-B.

0 thoughts on “If he were alive today, he'd be a staff writer”

  1. Clearly, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were never cut out to be stars. There’s nothing compelling about them at all. Somebody call Tom Stoppard!

  2. I also would have responded with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, but reviewer did say, “some” aren’t cut out to be stars. So perhaps in the reviewer’s opinion, that pair was so cut out and others were not.

    The real tell, however, is Steve’s ability to comment on the reviewer’s proposed lousy spinoff and make it immediately palatable (not to mention beadslut’s calling attention to a scene and characters with echoes in centuries of books and dozens of films). The author can take even the mundane, as Stoppard and Joyce and many others established, and render it into story. If the author can get it alight, any wood will burn.

  3. I think R&G were perhaps two of the least likely characters but Stoppard managed to make it a feature rather than a bug, so I completely agree that if the author can get it alight, any wood will burn.

    But Mercutio and the Nurse? Those two together? This is buzzing with possibilities. I want to see it too.

  4. “Mercutio and Nurse”!
    Mercutio has always been my favorite. I always thought Juliet would get sick of all Romeo’s angst and take up with Mercutio because he could make her laugh.
    Nurse would be even better.

  5. Having played Guildenstern, I have to agree. And besides, nobody really knows what they did when off-stage.

  6. Mary: He’s the ghost of one of the best blades in Verona, she’s an out-of-work nanny. They fight crime.

  7. fight crime?

    Surely she’s a werewolf and he’s a vampire and together they cook up meth in southwestern Utah in the middle of a polygamous commune of former tropical island refuges who are showing off their talents as singers, models, dancers, and chefs… ?

  8. “heroic swordplay and lesbian romance”?

    Well, as long as you don’t get that reversed, I’m sure it will be playable on basic cable.

  9. “Mercutio and the Nurse, or ‘Everyone dies.’: A Comedy in 5 Acts”

  10. Ooo… Maybe they could solve mysteries too.
    “And I would have gotten away with it, if it hadn’t been for that pesky Shade of Verona and his awkwardly possessed, sometimes lesbian, nurse sidekick!”
    Uh, maybe not.

  11. After a well meaning but unsuccessful effort to make peace between some Mexican bandidos and a gang of bank robbing gunslingers, Mercutio and Angelica find themselves standing in the ashes of a feud which has left both sides dead. Grabbing all the loot, they decide they’ve stumbled on a great way to cut down on the vengeful cliques which so annoy them and make a living at the same time. They travel through time Yojimbo-ing a new set of Hatfields and Mccoys each episode.

  12. Television doesn’t want me to write for it. Trust me.

    You know who you need, don’t you? Mike Ford.


  13. Mike Ford, what an outstanding idea. Not only could he have made a work of art out of this idea in any number of different formats, he would have changed the way we think about stories involving secondary characters from Shakespeare. Only, now I’m really bummed that he’s not around to do it :-(

  14. I’m still scarred from having only one speaking line playing Benvolio – “Why Rosaline?” followed by miming out my defense of Romeo to the Prince after the Tybalt incident. Granted, it was it was a primary school play which the script was based on a “children’s storybook” form of the Romeo and Juliet which in turn, was based on the original script so he may have had a larger profile – but I’m guessing not much.

    No. I think the best spin-off would be about Benvolio discovering the true source of the feuding families – a magic ring devised by some kind of ancient evil. His quest would be to destroy it with the help of a magical cat and a surly dwarf. Otherwise all will be doomed. Then topping off a sale of the filming rights Robert Rodriguez in which he turns it into an annoying 90 minute kid’s movie – I think that would do Shakespeare true justice.

  15. I dunno who said this, but some critic suggested that Mercutio had to be killed off because he was obviously more interesting than the leads and was getting in the way of the play.

    Which I’ve always thought is true. Because I think Romeo and Juliet are boring.

    Shakespeare should’ve stuck with Mercutio. I mean, seriously, Romeo was seriously boring his friends by being in love with somebody else (Rosalind?) at the start of the play. Couldn’t he have kept boring them with different obsessions all the way through?

    So. Despite Stoppard’s achievement with boring secondary (tertiary?) characters, there’s a place for secondary characters rebelling and seizing the narrative.

    Off in a different narrative dimension, 12th Night has always been a favourite of mine. What if somebody wrote a Dumas plus 12th Night thingo? What if Khaavren and his lady had twins who were lost at sea? And found? Just a thought.

  16. Someone bet Harlan Elison a beer he can’t write a pilot for this in 5 minutes.

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