William Shakespeare has risen and is heading to television screens this July. TNT is gearing up to release the 10-episode series “Will” on July 10, dramatizing the life and times of young William Shakespeare and his infamous associates.
One for ‘Moulin Rouge!’ Fans
At first glance from the trailer, the show gives off a “Moulin Rouge!” vibe, but with a graphic and scandalous spin. The flavor looks to be the same: history with a contemporary twist. This shouldn’t be surprising, considering the show’s creator is Craig Pearce, Baz Luhrmann’s co-writer for “Romeo + Juliet,” “Moulin Rouge!” and “The Great Gatsby.” Much like Pearce’s film work, the show is promoted as having a modern soundtrack, where old meets new.
Golden Globe-nominated Shekhar Kapur directed early episodes of the show, including the long-awaited pilot. The seasoned director has experience in bringing the past to the screen, as he is best known for his historical dramas “Elizabeth” and “Elizabeth: The Golden Age.”
Cast of Players
British actor and recent LAMDA graduate Laurie Davidson will make his television debut as the legendary playwright in his younger years. And, according to the network, this is not your high school English class Shakespeare.
Sarah Aubrey, executive vice president of original programming for TNT, told Deadline, “Shakespeare was a 16th-century rockstar, and ‘Will’ perfectly captures in contemporary terms what that must have felt like for the young writer and his fans. We are delighted to be working with such an extraordinary team of executive producers and cast in putting a fresh, bold spin on the story of Shakespeare.”
“The Shannara Chronicles” actor Mattias Inwood, who will take on the role of famed actor Richard Burbage, will flank Davison alongside Australian up-and-comer Olivia DeJonge, who will appear as Shakespeare’s love interest, Alice Burbage. The latest trailer also boasts British heartthrob Jamie Campbell Bower as the enigmatic playwright Christopher Marlowe, considered to be one of Shakespeare’s biggest rivals.
Bringing Sexy Back
Focusing the series on a historically ambiguous period in Shakespeare’s life will give the show some leeway with the story and the ability to play up the dramatics. Pair that with a passionate and rebellious lead character who is easy on the eyes, and we could see a widespread change in preconceived notions of the centuries-old playwright.
However, the urge to make Shakespeare sexy to younger generations is not a new concept. Theatre lovers will recall Christian Borle’s Tony Award-winning portrayal of the Bard as a leather-clad, celebrity stud in “Something Rotten!” One could also argue Broadway’s smash hit “Hamilton” sparked a renewed effort to modernize history and pique the interest of a technology-driven society. This latest attempt by TNT certainly shows promise.
Could this be the surprise hit of the summer season? Only time will tell. Check out “Will” on TNT starting Monday, July 10.