Monday, October 21, 2013

Romeo and Juliet...Starring Capulet Servant Number Two!

Quick, name two characters from Romeo and Juliet! You have five seconds. And...time's up. How many of you got this?
1. Romeo
2. Juliet
Okay. Now name the two most important characters in Romeo and Juliet. Go!
1. Romeo
2. Juliet
Now, whether you've seen the show or not, guess which two characters are named first in the play.
1. Juliet
2. Romeo
Considering all that. guess which two actors get the top billing on imdb?
1. Juliet's dad (Damian Lewis)
2. Romeo's mom (Lauren Morante)
The list goes on. Now, I've already talked about adult actors getting the top billing when a teenager is the star of the show. I won't rehash that here. Sometimes it's justified when the adult's more famous. But Hailee Steinfeld (Juliet) has been in some big movies and she's listed twelfth. That's after Second Capulet servant, number nine, played by Marcus J. Cotterell. And Romeo? He's dead last. Except for some extras like Farmer, Farmer's Son, and Capulet Maid.
Hailee Stenfield looks like this:
Hailee Steinfeld Picture

According to his imdb profile, Marcus J. Cotterell looks like this:
No photo available. Represent Marcus J. Cotterell? Add or change photos at IMDbPro
Reminds me of my old facebook picture.  You may recognize him as 'old man's client during first auction' from The Best Offer. I didn't.
Now, we can't judge a play by its movie. In the original Shakespeare, Second Capulet Servant gets six lines. Compare that to Juliet's mere 118. Romeo only gets 163. Sure, they've got some cool monologues and death scenes, but look what Servant 2 gets to say.
When good manners shall lie all in one or two men's 
hands and they unwashed too, 'tis a foul thing.

Ay, boy, ready.

We cannot be here and there too. Cheerly, boys; be
brisk awhile, and the longer liver take all.

 You shall have none ill, sir; for I'll try if they 
can lick their fingers.

Marry, sir, 'tis an ill cook that cannot lick his
own fingers: therefore he that cannot lick his
fingers goes not with me.

 I have a head, sir, that will find out logs, 
And never trouble Peter for the matter.

So Juliet and Romeo went down in history as the great standard of love. But servant two? He gets to talk about FOOD. And sanitation. And fingers.
But all that considered, I still don't see why he gets a higher billing.
Can I just say how happy I am to see Juliet played by a teenager? She's not quite fourteen in the play, but she was originally going to be played by Lily Collins. You know, Snow White from Mirror Mirror. Who happens to be a decade older than Juliet. Hailee Steinfeld's sixteen.
I liked this show. In modern times, young love is considered superficial. Our emotions are written off as "hormones acting up". Critics of teen movies and young adult literature sneer at the idea of finding true love in high school.
Or in Juliet's case, middle school. She'd be an eighth grader.
At the very heart of the story is youth. Young love, young anger, and young betrayal. While both Shakespeare and these modern filmmakers explore the consequences of those things, they never put it down to something inferior to adults.
There's a reason this play has survived four hundred years.

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