In Honor of Anonymous, 5 Reimaginings of Shakespearean Classics with Today's Auteurs


This week's new feature Anonymous is alluring for two reasons: It explores the possibility that Shakespeare didn't write his masterworks, and it looks unintentionally hilarious. If I could dress up for Halloween as Vanessa Redgrave's line-reading of "None of your plays will ever carry your name," I would. In tribute to this dubious drama, let's explore what the Bard's plays would sound like if they were written or retooled by current auteurs. Ready for Why Did I Get Jealous Too?

Judd Apatow's Richard III

A pathetically self-deprecating, but cunning man (Russell Brand) walks with a limp and seems pretty hopeless as a lame L.A. romantic. But after a few of his detractors die, Richard catches the eye of a snappy newsmagazine correspondent (Leslie Mann), who helps assist him in his rise to prominence. As he gains recognition and takes hold over the entertainment industry, he becomes increasingly self-conscious about his decrepit state and adopts the name McLimpin'. It's about a half hour too long.

Tyler Perry's Othello

AKA Why Did I Get Jealous Too?. Tyler Perry's version of the Venetian moor's plight removes most of the paranoia and fear from Shakespeare's tale and replaces them with pesky marital woes. Othello (Perry) and Dez (Taraji P. Henson) have a functional marriage, but their flippant next door neighbor Iago (Whoopi Goldberg, crossdressing and doublecrossing!) finds a way to interject mistrust into their relationship using rhyming slams, vaudevillian mockery of their weaknesses, and a "green-eyed monster" (her disruptive terrier who jumps on the furniture). Will Othello and Dez survive? Or will they smother each other with comic exasperation? Next: Tyler Perry's Euripides's Medea.

Quentin Tarantino's The Tempest

Forget Julie Taymor: Quentin Tarantino's version of The Tempest takes the island of weirdos and throws them in a kickass retelling of Pearl Harbor. This time, the magical Prospero uses his spells to thwart Japan's attack, and the monster Caliban is a legendary, hairy surf champion who doesn't mind beating up some terrorists if the timing's right. Prospero's daughter Miranda will not participate in her father's tricks until she walks out of this throwback cabana with a hula trophy.

Nancy Meyers's Twelfth Night

It's a case of mistaken identity as a wealthy Los Angeles yoga instructor named Viola (Diane Keaton -- in traditionally androgynous attire) decides to become an apprentice to a wealthy L.A. architect named Orsino (Steve Martin). She falls for Orsino, but he's in love with a wealthy cartoonist named Olivia (Meryl Streep). He sends the smitten Viola over to Olivia as an emissary, but Olivia immediately falls for Viola's winsome and gallant appeal. That hat! That vest! Those magician tails! It's just about complicated.

Darren Aronofsky's Macbeth

An unwitting protagonist descends into a dizzying, phantasmagorical vortex of power and visibility dotted with mysterious deaths and paranormal events. Actually, Macbeth should just be called Requiem for a Black Swan.