This is a cross-over episode with our Shakespeare podcast, 21st Folio, which dives deep into Netflix’s The King, a sort of adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part 1 & II and Henry V.
In the latest attempt to adapt Shakespeare for modern audiences, Australian director David Michôd (The Rover) directs Timothée Chalamet in The King, a sort-of rewriting of Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part 1 & 2 and Henry V. The film is set in the original time period, but Shakespeare’s language has been gutted, while his structure is preserved, in favour of modern English with the occasional “ye olde” touch. The script, written by Joel Edgerton (who stars as Falstaff) and Michôd, turns Falstaff into one of the stars of Henry V (instead of showing his death…) who goes to Agincourt with Hal.
In this episode, we try to make sense of why The King was made, who it’s for, how it hews closely to some aspects of Shakespeare and veers wildly away from it, and why it made us so angry.
This episode features a discussion between our Editor-in-Chief Alex Heeney, Editor-at-Large Mary Angela Rowe, and regular 21st Folio guest Caitlin Merriman.
Show notes and Recommended Reading
- Read Orla Smith’s in-depth analysis of Timothée Chalamet’s career and performances to date.
- Read Alex Heeney’s in-depth analysis of Tom Hiddleston’s career and his excellent performance as Hal and Henry V.
- Listen to our 21st Folio episode about two excellent Henry V films, starring Kenneth Branagh and Tom Hiddleston respectively, here.
- Listen to our 21st Folio episode on Romeo & Juliet, for a look at how a radical adaptation (like Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet) can actually be closer to the spirit of Shakespeare than one that doggedly sticks to the text (like Zefferelli’s)
- If you’d like to see Timothée Chalamet be actually good, we highly recommend Call Me by Your Name, a film so good we wrote a whole book about it.