Ok, so it maybe sounds silly to say this, but I got this idea from a dream I had last night. Remarkably, I managed to remember this when I woke up. I usually don't, as I'm sound enough a sleeper that crossing the gulf back to wakefulness, combined with my crap memory, is typically enough that I'll forget whatever I was dreaming. Anyway, the idea:
The idea involves first getting together as many of the cast members as possible from the film rendition of Tom Stoppard's "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead." Possibly some of that film's direction people as well, for similar camera angles. Definitely make sure to get the same film stock or otherwise make sure it looks like "R&GAD." Bonus if you could then get or manage to fake that film's costumes and scenery.
Anyway, basically, you get as many of the elements together to film "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" all over again, just like the existing film... and *then* what you do is a film version of...
"H a m l e t"
You do "Hamlet" using all the folks who did "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead." The kick is that what you do with it is turn the perspective back. Run entirely, on the surface, with the "Hamlet" script, but include all the elements that the "R&GAD" movie brought with Stoppard's script and its perspective. So, when characters approach R&G in the course of the script to "Hamlet," one would see that they were just in whatever bit of puzzling figure-things-out conversation from Stoppard's script was occurring at the time. Wherever else the action is at the time of the line, "There *is* no wind," there'd be that gust of wind blowing through that sets off Rosencrantz's (Guildenstern's?) pinwheel and leads, in "R&GAD" to the further utterance, "*Draught*, yes." Wherever they're shown hidden or standing by, watching events, in Stoppard's movie, here they'd be hidden (but well enough visible by the audience) or standing by in the background, watching those same events. At the appropriate moments, the cry of, "DELVE!!!" and whatever else R&G shout that resounds through the whole castle, would be heard, albeit at relatively faint volume; enough to be heard, but definitely not loud enough to be the central thing heard or have the foreground "Hamlet" script distracted from.
The basic thing is this: "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" took "Hamlet," and swung the perspective around so that the two most insignificant background characters that still appear ongoing and show up in the Dramatis Personae (so insignificant that it's never specified which one is which) became the central roles. What my idea is is to swing that perspective back, put them back in the background, but keep everything that "R&GAD" brought to add to the background. I'm not quite sure what it would do to/for the tone of the tragedy that is "Hamlet," but I think I'd quite like to find out.
Subsequent idea I had was to try and do similar for "Beowulf" and John Gardner's "Grendel," but, while still not having had chance to read the latter, I have a suspicion, from what I've heard about the book, that Gardner might've taken sufficient license with the foreground events of "Beowulf", changing them with the ramifications of the premises he alters in the first place in order to bring the perspective around to Grendel. But I definitely like this "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead"/"Hamlet" idea.
Wow. I feel like I've already explained this idea in full a few times already. Probably 'cause in the dream, I was explaining it to a movie producer or someone like that. I'd really love to see this happen, as unlikely as that may be.
Comments? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you think.
Chris "Slarti" Pinard, 27 Nov 2000