Saturday, July 16, 2016


I want to clear some things up about the nudity. I expect to be judicious in my use of nudity as I would be in using any kind of disorienting technique on the audience. Too much of anything just doesn't work in most cases.

However, I also want actors who won't make a big deal out of showing some flesh. It makes the entire set, from the director, the other actors and the crew, uncomfortable when nudity becomes bigger than the actions they are trying to film.

I understand that this is difficult for some people. That's exactly why it's powerful for an audience - if used carefully.
In my mind, the world of this play is an easily torn atmosphere as thin as Tennessee Williams Southern gothic gossamer, and the only way we can make something beautiful out of all the violence and misery of this story is to all be on the same page pulling in the same direction.


Nudity is used for Ophelia to demonstrate her vulnerability. She takes off her clothes in front of her father as part of a ritual that she doesn’t dare to question. In the mad scene, her clothes are tattered and revealing because she is unable to think normally. She has lost her ability to protect herself or to think of how she is perceived. These scenes should be sad, disturbing and vaguely erotic. That kind of energy disturbs the audience as well and forces them into places they've never been with Hamlet.


For Gertrude, showing some flesh has two functions. The first function is to show that she is becoming comfortable with her formerly repressed sexuality. I don't have a measure for how much flesh we have to see to make this work. Most of her relationship with Claudius should be conveyed in unashamed sensuality. 

I want her to examine her body in the montage scene I posted. I feel that this plays well with Hamlet's line about "Make her laugh at that." It also shows her insecurity and how Claudius takes her away from her tormenting doubts.

I also want her to show her beauty. I don't like this feeling of shame about older women's bodies. Women are beautiful and Gertrude is discovering her beauty through the eyes and actions of Claudius.

I understand that this can be a double-edged sword and I would never put an actress in the position of being embarrassed. In the end, Gertrude will be as free as the actress really feels and the tension between what she wants to be and what she is contains a lot of its own kind of drama and we will capture that and use it in the film.


Hamlet is nude only in the scene I have added where he is put into an asylum by Claudius. This is where he has been sent away to an asylum called "England" instead of on a ship that is boarded by pirates. I have also added the detail that Hamlet is beaten during his interrogation by Claudius (with the assistance of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern). I want the audience to feel that Hamlet is truly in danger and I want to convey the same vulnerability for him that we have seen in Ophelia. I am searching for parallels between the characters that are not often explored and I need radical means to achieve these. I don't need full frontal unless the actor wants to go there. I just don't want the scene to be about somebody who is afraid to show his junk.
Hamlet and Ophelia also have some sexual contact but as far as I have conceived it, there's no serious nudity. This is because I don't think that the depressed Hamlet is capable of any kind of deep sensuality. This is among the reasons he is so angry toward his mother and Claudius. How dare they enjoy the sensual pleasures of their rotting flesh while the whole world is falling into madness and disease.

In the end, anything can be discussed, but once we have sat down together and agreed on what needs to be done, it will be added to the script in detail. I consider the script to be a contract between actors and directors. I will never bully people into anything. That's as boring to me as it would be to you. I want actors who see my vision and want to join me in it. And I want people as happy as anybody can be who is delving into the filth, ruin, decay and bitterness of Hamlet.

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