Creed (2016) | directed by Ryan Coogler
I don’t care who the Academy gives it to, this is my Best Actor award winner.
I haven’t written about Hashtag Hamlet publicly in a while, mainly because there’s not a lot to write about. Development can be like that – we’re exploring a lot of different potential paths forward, talking with a lot of different potential funders and distributors to find the right partners who will make this happen on the level and scale that we want.
One part of those conversations is always some variation on the question, “if you could get anybody you wanted to play Hamlet, who would it be.”
And my answer is usually Michael B. Jordan.
Because, I mean, look at this guy. Torn up inside, not knowing what he should do next, but knowing he has to do something.
There’s a famous story about Franco Zeffirelli going to see Lethal Weapon, and when he gets to the scene where Riggs puts the gun in his mouth but can’t pull the trigger, he said to himself, “THAT’S Hamlet.”
I had a similar moment when I saw Fruitvale Station. And I saw it again in Creed, in scenes like above. Michael B. Jordan has an amazing ability to convey active indecision, the physicalize an internal conflict between lashing out at the things in his way no matter the cost and holding himself back because it’s the smarter play even though it means swallowing his pride.
You know, to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or take arms against a sea of troubles.
Michael B. Jordan is now an A-list movie star, so the odds of him agreeing to do my weird internet show are practically nonexistent. But the larger point is that the requirement to play Hamlet should be the ability to PLAY THE ROLE. Not skin color, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or anything else.
And if you think that a woman can’t play Hamlet, then you’ve haven’t seen the LA Women’s Shakespeare Company play Shakespeare the way it was meant to be played.
The other name I’d usually give when asked if I could get anybody to play Hamlet?
Make that ACADEMY AWARD NOMINEE DANIEL KALUUYA.
Y’know, when I would say that name in those meetings, the response was usually, “Who?” Not anymore.