Hamlet Extra Credit Assignment #5 - Hamlet Goes Hollywood!

Hamlet Activity: The Movie Cast

When an actor is "typecast," he or she is only given roles of a certain type which seems to fit the actor well because of his or her appearance, line delivery, or reputation. A typecast actor is the man who you've seen be the "bad guy" in at least three different movies (For example, Jason Isaacs has played Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, Captain Hook in Peter Pan, and Colonel William Tavington in The Patriot - all of them villains).

Needless to say, actors hate being typecast because they become locked into doing certain roles and are never allowed to break free and experiment with different characters. The sad truth, though, is that typecasting works well most of the time.

For this assignment, we are going to lean upon the typecast actor.

Imagine that you are a casting director and asked to audition and assign different actors to play the parts of all the characters in Hamlet. You are going to need actors that have already proven to you that they can play the types of roles you are going to assign them. You may choose an actor based upon looks or previous roles, but in any case, you need to have a darn good reason for choosing the actor (there's a lot of money riding on the success of your forthcoming film!).

Make a poster for your producers listing each character from your text with a brief summary of that character's traits, qualities, and actions. See Shmoop's sections on Hamlet characters and Hamlet characterization for help.

Beside each character name, cut out or print out the picture of a modern day actor that you think would perform the role of that character beautifully. You may want to list previous roles played by the actor (Internet Movie Database – www.imdb.com – can help you fill in the gaps of your cinema knowledge) or write a few of the traits you see in your chosen actor that fit his or her assigned character.

Don't simply match actors' pictures to character names - show that you have a clear understanding of each character and the demands that role requires. Be prepared to present your casting list to your board of producers - er, classroom of students - after it is finished.





Hamlet Activity: The Movie Poster

Even though we all know we're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, we all do it -- but in our time, we're more likely to judge a movie by its preview or trailer. We immediately decide in seconds or minutes whether or not we want to see a film. Another way we judge whether or not we want to see a movie is by a quick glance at its movie poster or publicity materials.

A superb and effective movie poster is eye-catching; intriguing; suggests the tone, plot, and main characters of a film; and usually has a short, pithy tagline – sometimes even a quotation directly from the movie itself.

Imagine that you've been hired to design a promotional movie poster for the text that you've been reading. Check out these sections of Shmoop for ideas you might like to focus upon. Then, design a cool movie poster that advertises Hamlet.

Make sure that your movie poster lists the title and author of the text prominently in an effective font. Your graphic can be anything you like so long as it suggests the tone and plot of the text (even if abstractly). Don't forget to pick a central quotation from the text for your tagline (or make up your own thematic tagline based on some of the prominent themes of the text).

Check out http://www.movieposters.com/ or other movie poster websites for possible ideas and compositions for your poster. A parody, homage, or adaptation of a famous movie poster might be perfect for your text.

For even more fun, add a brief cast list of characters' names, make yourself the director, and choose a rating for your film. And be ready to hang your poster up for all classes to see.