Notes from the Shakespeare Film Company

What follows are the preliminary production ideas for Ken's upcoming film adaptations. They were printed in a promotional presskit designed for fundraising for The Shakespeare Film Company.

**thanks to Jude

written by Kenneth Branagh

LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST is a superbly funny, heartbreaking romance, based on one of Shakespeare's most easily understood and brilliantly entertaining comedies.

The original play has all the ingredients of classic film romantic comedy and it is to these classics that we have looked for our production ideas.

The film will be set between the casual elegance and sexiness of Fred Astaire's 30's hits and the more vigourous and robust 50's movies of Gene Kelly.

To convey Shakespeare's potent mixture of romance, style and delicious slapstick we will draw on the inspirations of cinema greats such as Busby Berkeley.

The great Edwardian theatre critic Harley Granville Barker suggested the play could be understood most effectively in terms of song and dance. We've taken him at his word along with the genius of Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin and Jerome Kern. Love's Labour's Lost will be our valentine to the unforgettable world of classic screen musicals, with songs such as "Let's Face the Music and Dance", "Dancing Cheek to Cheek", "They Can't Take That Away from Me".

These classics will be combined with many more 20th century songs and together they will make for a joyful, instantly hummable, life affirming experience.

The ultimate aim is to reach an audience unfamiliar with any of the films antecedents and make it sexy, glamourous and funny in a way that will speak to a younger audience of today. The romantic leads and their hilarious sidekicks will be drawn from both new and established performers from around the world.

With a unique style and an overt contemporary frission, Love's Labour's Lost will be a movie treat for people of all ages and cultures.


The tragedy is transplanted to the beginning of a new millennium. An utterly modern setting in which Shakespeare's warfare takes place amid the corridors of power in financial centres around the world.

The bloody battle for leadership centres on the control of a global media empire. The motives are the same. Ruthless ambition, lust and envy. But here the murders take place on Wall Street. At stake, the fates of nations, the lives of innocent people....the future of the world's economy.

At the centre of the film, an impossibly glamourous and successful couple, who's passionate union will stop at nothing to attain their diabolical ends.

Sex, money, power and the spectre of pure unadulterated evil make this most chilling of Shakespeare's tragedies, a modern morality tale to quicken the pulse of even the most jaded of thriller audiences.


The sunniest and most heart-warming of Shakespeare's comedies. A love story of tenderness and joy. A universal tale of family reunions and happy endings, set in the giddy, magical world of Shakespeare's Forest of Arden.

To convey the mystery and charm of this magical wood we take the play to Japan's Kyoto. Here at cherry blossom time, the story unfolds with all the excitement and pageantry of Samurai tradition. European influences clashing dramatically with the ancient order.

In the midst of it all, the beautiful Rosaline, disguised as a boy, finds her father and her lover with the aid of Shakespeare's usual help - Comedians, Royals, Spirits and in this case, a sumo wrestler!

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