Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: First Trailer For Tim Burton's 'Big  Eyes' Starring Amy Adams And Christoph Waltz Watch: First Trailer For Tim Burton's 'Big Eyes' Starring Amy Adams And Christoph Waltz 'Deadpool’ Spin-Off With Ryan Reynolds Is Finally Green Lit, Set For A Winter 2016 Release Date 'Deadpool’ Spin-Off With Ryan Reynolds Is Finally Green Lit, Set For A Winter 2016 Release Date First Look: Cobie Smulders & Guy Pearce In Andrew Bujalski's 'Results' First Look: Cobie Smulders & Guy Pearce In Andrew Bujalski's 'Results' 10 Films We Haven’t Yet Seen That May Be Serious Oscar Contenders 10 Films We Haven’t Yet Seen That May Be Serious Oscar Contenders Exclusive: Matthew McConaughey Won’t Be Back For ‘Magic Mike XXL,’ Director Says Sequel Will Be “Very Different” Exclusive: Matthew McConaughey Won’t Be Back For ‘Magic Mike XXL,’ Director Says Sequel Will Be “Very Different” David Fincher Says He Shouldn't Have Directed 'The Game,' Dislikes Superhero Movies & Talks "Crazy" '20,000 Leagues' David Fincher Says He Shouldn't Have Directed 'The Game,' Dislikes Superhero Movies & Talks "Crazy" '20,000 Leagues' Matt Damon & Paul Greengrass Are Returning To The 'Bourne' Series Matt Damon & Paul Greengrass Are Returning To The 'Bourne' Series First Look: Angelina Jolie And Brad Pitt In 'By The Sea' First Look: Angelina Jolie And Brad Pitt In 'By The Sea' The Best, Worst And Most Disappointing Films Of The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival The Best, Worst And Most Disappointing Films Of The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival David Fincher Says Differences Over Casting And Disney's Corporate Culture Stalled '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' David Fincher Says Differences Over Casting And Disney's Corporate Culture Stalled '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 2 ‘The Good Listener’ Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 2 ‘The Good Listener’ Review: 'No Good Deed' Starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson Review: 'No Good Deed' Starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson Watch: Shailene Woodley Gets NSFW In 2 Clips From 'White Bird In A Blizzard' Plus New Pics Watch: Shailene Woodley Gets NSFW In 2 Clips From 'White Bird In A Blizzard' Plus New Pics Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' David Fincher Apparently Thinks 'Dragon Tattoo' Sequel 'The Girl Who Played With Fire' Could Get Made David Fincher Apparently Thinks 'Dragon Tattoo' Sequel 'The Girl Who Played With Fire' Could Get Made The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Detailed Drafts Of Laurence Olivier's Unmade 'Macbeth' Movie Script Found

The Playlist By India Ross | The Playlist January 31, 2013 at 1:48PM

Remember that time when Indiana Jones found the Ark of the Covenant? This is a bit like that.
1
Laurence Olivier

Remember that time when Indiana Jones found the Ark of the Covenant? This is a bit like that.

In the rural university town of Exeter, England, an academic has uncovered thirteen versions of a lost screenplay for Laurence Olivier’s "Macbeth." Exploring the library’s Laurence Olivier Archive (probably a good bet when hoping to come across such documents), the lecturer discovered a final shooting script adorned with intricate set designs and technical instructions, despite the theatrical icon’s life-long protestations that a mere “sketch” was all that remained.

While eighteen screen versions of Macbeth have been produced to date, Olivier’s was never made. Financially beleaguered, the project, which was to star Olivier and his then-wife Vivien Leigh, and would have seen them reprise what were widely believed to be their finest roles of the English stage, was derailed and abandoned. Things get a bit Da Vinci Code when one looks into the history of the Scottish Play. Shrouded in theatrical lore – a mystique which Olivier wielded with particularly public vigor after the ignominious loss of his own adaptation – "Macbeth" has haunted its prospective re-tellers with the kind of morbid revenge last seen from Banquo’s ghost. Its run on stage and screen has been beset with cast fatalities, financial ruin, and a notable severing of Macduff’s thumbs in a production of 1794. Abraham Lincoln himself purportedly read passages from Duncan’s assassination in the week prior to his death.

Under academic scrutiny since its discovery, Olivier’s screenplay is a blueprint for what should have been a cogent re-working by an insider who knew the character intimately, and an answer to the 1948 rendition by a very on-form Orson Welles. Olivier’s boldest pitch was to sever the “dagger” speech, omitting the murder of Duncan, while the opening had been re-imagined as a character study of a wounded Macbeth leaning into a pit, staring at a reflection of himself with “his blood colouring all the water around him”.

Alas, the stars have hidden their fires, or something like that, and we will never see the great Shakespearean’s vision come to fruition. The other eighteen versions will have to suffice. [Guardian]

This article is related to: Laurence Olivier


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates