Funnyman Russell Brand is convinced, students would enjoy reading Shakespeare at school if only teachers highlighted the “sex and violence” in the classic plays. The comedian-turned-actor plays jester Trinculo in filmmaker Julie Taymor’s upcoming big screen adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Brand relished reciting his difficult lines for the film, but admits he struggled to understand the Bard’s work as a teen, and wishes his tutors had emphasised Shakespeare’s risqué and exciting themes.
He says, “In British schools, they sort of thrust it upon you. I had some good teachers in my school, I don’t want to bring my school down, but (when) Shakespeare is presented to you, it just seems dense. (It could be enjoyable) if they said to you, ‘This about sex and violence and in the times that it was on, it was a very bawdy form of entertainment! You could go to a public execution or see a Shakespeare play!’ It’s not meant to be read, it’s meant to be performed.” And Russell Brand hopes Taymor’s take on the drama will get audiences excited for Shakespeare again. He adds, “Julie’s done such a great job of making it visceral and impactful (sic), making the funny bits funny and the dramatic bits intense. There’s really good-looking kids in it, Reeve Carney, for example, the young lad in it. He’s gorgeous, and the girl he’s opposite, Felicity (Jones) – they have the qualities that the Twilight stars have. And you’ve got the gravitas of Dame Helen (Mirren). She’s so cool. I’m infatuated with her – to a healthy degree.”