Ben Whishaw as Richard II


Really excited about this. I wish I could have seen him as Hamlet. I’m not good with all the Richards and Henrys, so at first I thought this is the mad Richard who locked his nephews in the Tower, but no, this is the Richard who lost his throne to Henry IV (not to be confused with Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V).  Whishaw would have been great as that mad Richard, too, I’m sure. We’ll see him in lots of other things as well next year – Series 2 of The Hour, Cloud Atlas, Skyfall (the James Bond movie).

Keats and kitty, from Bright Star. If you haven’t seen Bright Star, I definitely recommend it. And I say this as someone who thought Jane Campion’s The Piano is probably the most boring movie ever made. Bright Star is slow, but in a tender and contemplative way, not tedious, and never boring. This is not my Whishaw-bias speaking either, even he couldn’t save Brideshead Revisited from being the mess that it is (I want my money back for that DVD!)

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7 thoughts on “Ben Whishaw as Richard II

  1. If you live anywhere near London you can see his Hamlet as a video recording. It’s held at the V&A theatre archive so you have to book in advance to see it as it’s an educational facility. It’s a bit of a sterile environment watching on a small telly with headphones but well worth it.
    I’ve had him earmarked for RII for a while now. Slightly disappointed it will TV not on the stage but still think it is going to be amazing. But now that he’s done RII, Iago in Othello is the next Shakespeare role I’ve got him earmarked for. Really want to see him play a villain.

    • No, I’m not anywhere near London, alas. I know what you mean about Richard II being on stage rather than TV (for actors doing Shakespeare, the recognition and respect still mainly comes from the stage), but the selfish fan in me is still a little glad it’s on TV, at least I can watch it :). Whishaw as Iago sounds great, I’m picturing Idris Elba as Othello.

      I’m still baffled by Golden Globes nominating Dominic West for Best Actor, but nothing for Whishaw. Hector over Freddie? Really? Did these people even watch the show? But then again, this is the same group that saw fit to give Ryan Gosling TWO Best Actor nominations for The Ides of March and Crazy, Stupid Love (where he’s not even actually the main character, Steve Carrell is), but nothing for his amazing performance in Drive.

      • Don’t get me started on The Globes. Film critic Mark Kermode says the Hollywood Foreign Press choose the actors they want to hang out with the most. I take most awards with a pinch of salt as they are so obviously political and rarely get it right.
        I’m yearning to see Mr W back on stage as it’s been nearly two years now but in the meantime at least we’ve got lots of him on screen coming up next year

        • Yup, that sounds about right. Why else would they nominate Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp for The Tourist? Which plays have you seen him in? I’m so jealous 🙂 I’m amazed that some enterprising theater company haven’t figure out a way to make more money by recording plays and releasing them as DVDs. It’s not really the same experience as watching a play on stage, obviously, but it can give more people a chance to see it.

          • Indeed. Ricky Gervais said what everyone was thinking when he was host.
            I’ve seen him in Leaves of Glass, …some trace of her, Cock and The Pride (the latter in NY). I also saw him take part in a series of rehearsed readings to celebrate Caryl Churchill’s 80th (?) birthday.
            Hamlet I’ve only seen a recording.
            I think more of the big theatres, here anyway, are cottoning on to the whole DVD thing as a means of making money. The RSC released a DVD of David Tennant’s Hamlet and with more ‘theatre live’ now where a performance is simultaneously broadcast to cinemas it can’t be that big of a leap to package it up and sell the recording. And, as you say, it isn’t like they don’t need the money.
            Mr W has tended to do small productions though which has its advantages especially when he sits down next to you…

      • I agree whole-heartedly about Dominic West as Hector over Whishaw as Freddie Lyons! I could (and have) watched “The Hour” so, so, so many times just to watch Whishaw perform. It’s not that West is’t god, he is. It’s just that Ben is better! I love everything he’s done that I have had the pleasure of viewing. I just wish I coud see “Hamlet,” but (unfortunately) living in the USA makes that experience rather impossible, unless I can get back to London (permanently instead of a mere visit!).

        • Hector is a flashier character, I guess, the Don Draper of The Hour, if you want to make that comparison. God, I wish the producers had not made that comparison when they were first promoting the series, I’m so tired of reading reviews comparing The Hour unfavorably to Mad Men. It’s not the same kind of show at all, it was a silly comparison from the start. But yeah, there’s nothing really unique or special about Hector, it’s not anything we’ve never seen before, the hard-drinking, womanizing, charming, devil-may-care guy who is actually very, very, insecure deep down – they’re a dime a dozen in TV-land. Freddie is something different.

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