What present day actors might be able to play the roles of Mercutio, Tybalt, Romeo, Juliet, and Nurse in "Romeo and Juliet"?I was wondering what present day actors might be able to play the roles...

What present day actors might be able to play the roles of Mercutio, Tybalt, Romeo, Juliet, and Nurse in "Romeo and Juliet"?

I was wondering what present day actors might be able to play the roles of Mercutio, Tybalt, Romeo, Juliet, and Nurse in "Romeo and Juliet"?

Expert Answers
Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Well, it's an open question isn't it? It depends how good you think the actors are. I think Romeo and Juliet are two of the hardest roles in Shakespeare, and the play as a whole is incredibly difficult to pull off. I have never seen a production where I actually cared that two young people at the end wound up dead (and I have seen - including the RSC's most recent production - some achingly boring productions).

So you'd have to think about whether these actors could cope with the - very difficult - language, and actually find ways to believably get to grips with the text of the play. I'm not going to go into all that.  

Dream casting? OK then. I'd have Natalie Portman as Juliet, and David Kross (from the reader) as Romeo. Tybalt's just a bit of a thug, so someone like Vinnie Jones might do the trick (though he's maybe a bit old). I'd love to see what Ricky Gervais or Jim Carrey would make of Mercutio. And.. the nurse? There are almost too many options. But I'd want to talk to Whoopi Goldberg.

Hope it helps!

Natalie Portman is brilliant!  Read the David Kross wrongly at first.  I was thinking, really, David Cross, from Mr. Show? :)  Now THAT would be interesting! Esp if Ricky Gervais got to be Mecutio (or Jim Carrey for that matter)

 

 

 

striges eNotes educator| Certified Educator

That is a very difficult question for just one person to answer, and it does not have one single "right" response.  How a director casts a film or play is determined by many factors.  Not only does each character have a basic role to play in the story, but the director has to decide HOW that role should be played.  Also, as many directors and producers do, the setting in which the play will take place has a strong impact on character development and, therefore, actor selection. 

Here's an example:  the most modern film version of Romeo and Juliet was set in a modern-day inner city.  Leonardo DiCaprio played Romeo. Many scholars and film critics disagreed about this choice, but then the movie made a lot of money.

So, to answer your question, I think you must look at the actors you know and compare them to how you see the characters in the play to look and behave.  The thing about plays is that, as performance literature, they are meant to be interpreted.  Character descriptions can only say so much. 

Based on YOUR reading of the play, how would you answer your question?

robertwilliam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Well, it's an open question isn't it? It depends how good you think the actors are. I think Romeo and Juliet are two of the hardest roles in Shakespeare, and the play as a whole is incredibly difficult to pull off. I have never seen a production where I actually cared that two young people at the end wound up dead (and I have seen - including the RSC's most recent production - some achingly boring productions).

So you'd have to think about whether these actors could cope with the - very difficult - language, and actually find ways to believably get to grips with the text of the play. I'm not going to go into all that.  

Dream casting? OK then. I'd have Natalie Portman as Juliet, and David Kross (from the reader) as Romeo. Tybalt's just a bit of a thug, so someone like Vinnie Jones might do the trick (though he's maybe a bit old). I'd love to see what Ricky Gervais or Jim Carrey would make of Mercutio. And.. the nurse? There are almost too many options. But I'd want to talk to Whoopi Goldberg.

Hope it helps!

dswain001 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I love this question. I personally think Dakota Fanning would be an superb Juliet. She is really coming into her own as an actress and she is closer in age to the actual character. I agree with lynn30k about Shia Lebouf. He's a good actor, but horrible for this role. And I also veto Hayden Panatierre. Again, great actress, just wrong for the role of Juliet. Robert Pattinson would be an excellent Tybalt. His role in Twilight proves that he can play dark characters. For Romeo, I would have to say Tristan Wilds from 90210.

litchick2011 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Oooooh, love these question types.

My first pick for Romeo would be James McAvoy...he can do intense and brooding like nobody's business. I would probably pick Emmy Rossum as Juliet...she is the epitome of beautiful ingenue.  For Benvolio, I really like the British actor Harry Lloyd. He does thoughtful sidekick very well...if you have not seen the BBC Robin Hood...he is worth the watch. I like Paul Bettany for Mercutio, but he may be too old.

lynn30k eNotes educator| Certified Educator

How about Thomas Dekker and Summer Glau as Romeo and Juliet? They're the leads in the Terminator TV show, and could be very interesting. jp55, gotta vote against Shia Lebouf....his performance in the last Indiana Jones movie was soooooo bad. Wasn't totally his fault, though, he was just seriously mis-cast.

robertwilliam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

@amy-lepore: I'd run a mile to avoid seeing Orlando Bloom as Mercutio. And Meryl S would be an amazing Lady Capulet (a much better part than everyone realises). Tybalt's a small enough part that Johnny Depp wouldn't ruin it!

linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Why not choose actors close to the characters' ages? I think Dakota Fanning would be great as Juliet, and Daniel Radcliffe would be a good Romeo.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I like Natalie Portman for Juliet, Meryl Streep as the Nurse, David Cross as Romeo, Orlando Bloom as Mercutio, maybe Johnny Depp as Tybalt?

robertwilliam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I quite like the idea of David Cross!

We should put this film together, Jamie. I'll direct - will enotes put the money up?

mkcapen1 | Student

I find this a great question since Shakespeare's plays have continuously been a part of acting since they were written.  Imagine the joy in knowing that one could write literature that could transcend the centuries and still be sought after.

Todays actresses and actors have become such commercial properties that one has to be pick to choose between a true artist and an employed actor.  One person who I view as having a great degree of talent are Meryle Streep, and yes, she would make an excellent nurse.  I would like to see Ron Howard's daughter Bryce Dallas Howard try the role of Juliet or Natlie Portman.  Chris Pine could play Tybalt.  Personally, I would like to see what Adam Lambert, from American Idol, could do with the role of Romeo. I would have also loved Heath Ledger in the role.  Mercutio is the hardest of all for me to think of because of how wonderful his role was when I saw it performed by a Russian Ballet company.  He stole the show.  I actually think that Jutin Timberlake could pull it off.

I am currently doing a school project on this. I have Emma Watson for Juliet, Jake Gyllenhal as Romeo. Johnny Depp as Tybalt, John Krasinski as Benvolio, and Demetri Martin as Mercuitio.

jp55 | Student

I would have Shia Lebouf as Romeo and Hayden Panettiere as Juliet.  i do think natalie portman would be very good at Juliet but i like Panettiere better.