Shakespeare: Hijacked!

         When writers in Hollywood run out of script ideas, they tend to do one of three things: remake a movie from another era/country, make yet another sequel to a blockbuster film, or look to classic literature. Two of my favorite “chick-flick” teen movies are based on plays by Shakespeare. 10 Things I Hate About You, directed by Gil Junger and starring Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger, was released in 1999. The film is a loose adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew. She’s the Man, a 2006 film, directed by Andy Flickman and starring Amanda Bynes, takes its inspiration from Twelfth Night. I have to wonder, though, if these adaptations are wasted on teenagers. What would Shakespeare think of all of this?

         Immediately after learning that 10 Things I Hate About You was based on one of Shakespeare’s works, I went to the library to find that piece in print. I looked for references in the movie, observed what had been changed in the adaptation and what had been left the same, and just generally compared the two stories. Reading the original play, in my opinion, greatly raised my appreciation for the adaptation. Every time I watch the movie, I look for little references that I may have missed previously. The same story is true for She’s the Man, although I had actually read Twelfth Night before seeing the film. I have a strong feeling, though, that most viewers of these films did not go through the process that I did.

         Many people I have talked to do not even realize that the films are based on anything, despite the large type that tells them right in the opening credits. When they do find out, they do not care. I cannot help but think that they are missing the entire point. They have hijacked the story without giving credit to the creator. Shakespeare does not deserve this.

Kortney Bullock

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