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Casting for OthelloRecently in English I was prompted with this scenario:Suppose you...

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ycrazyant | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 27, 2008 at 5:44 PM via web

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Casting for Othello

Recently in English I was prompted with this scenario:

Suppose you are a casting director for Othello.  What well-known stars would you cast in the principal roles?  Justify your choices with specific references to the play. 

Samuel L. Jackson – Othello

Iago - Jim Carrey

 

Keira Knightley - Desdemona

 

I’d like to start off by saying that I by no means consider myself an expert when it comes to the entertainment world.  I don’t know actors or actresses very well at all, so I find this pretty difficult to do.  However, since I am put in this scenario I’ll tell you I think would do an excellent job of playing some of the lead roles in William Shakespear’s Othello.

I honestly thought that 1995 version of Othello was pretty good.  It almost followed the play line for line, and I appreciated seeing Iago played in a some what humorous way.  Who would you choose and why?  What do you guys think of my selection?  Any advice for my paper?

 

Thanks for your help!

 

--Don

 

 

10 Answers | Add Yours

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ycrazyant | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 27, 2008 at 5:45 PM (Answer #2)

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Samuel L. Jackson – Othello

Othello was called “The Moor” by the Venetians because he is a Black man from North Africa.  So it would be appropriate for Othello to be played by a man that is Black.  While Anthony Hopkins is a good actor we can see that it didn’t work out to well when he played the role of Othello.  Also, Samuel L. Jackson has played roles where he has been noble, intelligent, and powerful just as he did in Star Wars as Mace Windu.  Samuel L. Jackson has also played roles where he is within the ranks of the military, just like Othello the General.  In the movie Jungle Fever Samuel L. Jackson pursues a white woman, just as Othello did with Desmonda.

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ycrazyant | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 27, 2008 at 5:45 PM (Answer #3)

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Jim Carrey – Iago

“Honest” Iago is the villain of Othello yet he isn’t your everyday villain.  In a sadistic way you can see Iago as a humorous individual, so it certainly must be fitting for Jim Carrey to play this role.  Jim Carrey is no stranger to playing a villainous role.  One prime example of him being a villain in a clever way like Iago is that of the Riddler in Batman Forever.  Jim Carrey has also played the role of a liar, such as in the movie Liar, Liar.  Eventually in the movie Jim Carrey’s character sees the light, but initially he is a cold hearted lying attorney.

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ycrazyant | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 27, 2008 at 5:45 PM (Answer #4)

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Desdemona – Keira Knightley

Choosing someone to play the role of Desdemona was the most difficult choice for me.  I saw Desdemona as a faithful wife who becomes submissive to her husbands actions, and even forgives him at the end despite his wrong doing.  I purely based my choice for this role based off beauty and a thick English accent.  I don’t really have much to connect with Keira Knightley and Desdemona, but I think she would do a good job!

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ycrazyant | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 27, 2008 at 5:49 PM (Answer #5)

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I noticed that I spelled Shakespeare wrong, and the initial order is a bit messed up.  I made a mistake sandwich I guess you could say.  Sorry for the errors.

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted April 27, 2008 at 7:19 PM (Answer #6)

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Desdemona was blonde, so I'd choose Cate Blanchett or Katherine Heigl. Keira Knightley is too young.

Othello would have to be Denzel Washington. Samuel L. Jackson is not as good an actor.

Iago would be Kenneth Brannagh. There is no better actor in the universe.

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kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted April 27, 2008 at 8:48 PM (Answer #7)

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Interesting scenario!

For me, Othello would be Denzel Washington; Desdemona would be Cate Blanchett (because she is older) or perhaps Diane Lane.  I agree that there couldn't be anyone else to play Iago except Kenneth Brannagh.  He is wonderful as Iago and SO believable!

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ycrazyant | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 28, 2008 at 4:22 PM (Answer #8)

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Seems like you two are on the same page of things.  I guess my version of the movie would be the equivalent of a poor paperback novel that you would see in the airport.

Why did you guys both settle on the same characters?  What characteristics make them so good for their paticular role? 

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malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted May 2, 2008 at 11:59 AM (Answer #9)

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Ken Branagh was excellent as Iago, and I am a huge fan of his, but I would love to see other people in that role...Gerard Butler would do a great job, I think.  I'd love to see Denzel as Othello - and getting to watch a movie with both Denzel and Gerard?  That would be very nice indeed!

Desdemona - someone blonde and innocent looking - and who can do Shakespeare - I'm not coming up with anyone off the top of my head - I'll add to this if I think of someone.

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malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted May 5, 2008 at 6:29 AM (Answer #10)

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I just realized another person who would be great as Othello - Djimon Hounsou.  I've seen him in Gladiator and the second Lara Croft movie, and he is wonderful!  I think he would do Shakespeare very well!  And speaking of Gladiator, I can see Connie Nielsen as a lovely Desdemona!!!

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted May 5, 2008 at 6:59 AM (Answer #11)

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I just realized another person who would be great as Othello - Djimon Hounsou.  I've seen him in Gladiator and the second Lara Croft movie, and he is wonderful!  I think he would do Shakespeare very well!  And speaking of Gladiator, I can see Connie Nielsen as a lovely Desdemona!!!

Yes, I agree with both castings. He was also in the movie Amistad; I think that was his first. Joachim Pheonix would make a good Iago, too.

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