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February 5, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | February 5, 2009 |

I’ve never actually seen Al Pacino’s Merchant of Venice, but that’s most because I’m a Shakespeare-hating plebe — when it comes to our greatest playwright, I’m part of the unwashed masses — I’d much rather watch J.D. and Turk do a little homoerotic swordfighting than spend three hours in the park watching a Shakespeare production (that said, I did see Pacino’s Looking for Richard, if only because, for a while, I wanted to be a Pacino completist — Merchant dissuaded me from that notion). I’ve tried to do it: Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing was fun (but for Keanu), although that emboldened me to suffer through Branagh’s Hamlet. In a theater. All 242 minutes of it. That’s six hours of tedious, indecipherable English, plus intermission, which was a great time to bang my head against a brick wall. There isn’t a tub of popcorn in the world that will last you six hours.

Anyway, Pacino, who has a little man crush on William Shakespeare, has decided to reteam with his Merchant of Venice director, Michael Radford, and tackle King Lear for the big screen. Pacino will be doing something only a few very brave actors before him have attempted: Orson Welles and Laurence Olivier, for instance.

The play is about King Lear, old and retiring, who decides to split his kingdom among his three daughters. Two of the daughters kiss Lear’s ass, while a third, more loving daughter, is more honest with him. The third daughter is disinherited and banished. Ultimately, Lear … zzzzzzz.

Hey, you know what is good: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare … Abridged. You can catch it at nearly any high school in the nation at one time or another (see: I told you I’m a plebe). Check it:

Exit Stage Right / Dustin Rowles

Industry | February 5, 2009 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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