Hollywood shakes his spear

The Bard is hot. Here come . . .

Loved the swordplay in Shakespeare in Love and the teen angst in 10 Things I Hate About You? Aching for a little Ally McBeal in A Midsummer Night's Dream and some good ol' gore in the upcoming Titus? Jonesing for more iambic pentameter and Renaissance drag? Worry no more, because Hollywood's gone bonkers over Shakespeare. Whoever says don't beat a dead horse "doth protest too much." This is the movies, silly! Coming soon to a theater near you:

Title : You Know You Like It

Will's version: As You Like It

Pitch: "Shakespeare, but without all the costumes"

Unofficial pitch: "They can't slap us with NC-17 if it's in iambic pentameter."

Players: Jennifer Lopez as Rosa, Brad Pitt as Orlando

Synopsis: Rosa, daydreaming paralegal nerd, and Orlando, powerful yet lonely lawyer, are miserable Manhattanites who cross paths by the copy machine daily without meeting, until clumsy Rosa spills coffee on hunky Orlando. Lovelorn, Rosa pursues Orlando on vacation to nudist colony outside Miami. Rosa feigns brainless bimboness for Orlando, eventually reveals inner intellectual. They fall in love, set up shop in SoHo.

Most memorable scene and line: Camera slowly pans beach littered with stunning models/actors as Jack (Robert Downey Jr.) sighs, "All the world's a stage/And all the men and women merely players/They have their exits and their entrances/And one man in his time plays many parts/His acts being seven ages. You're all going to get old, too!"

Resulting trend: It's cool to be professional.

Title : Mack and Beth

Will's version: Macbeth

Director: Gus Van Sant

Pitch: Van Sant plus Shakespeare minus Keanu Reeves

Players: Joaquin Phoenix as Mack, Courtney Love as Beth

Synopsis: Mack, 29, spends all his time loafing in "last cool coffee shop in Portland," dreaming up "way out there" film scripts but never attempting to execute them. Beth, girlfriend and fellow amphetamine addict, pleads with Mack to move to LA so they can become "celebrities." Mack confesses to Beth his financial debt to brother, Beth concocts murder. Two stranglings and a bloody toilet flushing in coffee-shop restroom later, Mack and Beth bury bodies in pine forest. Mack finds fame in LA, couple settles in beachfront Malibu as SoCal yuppies. Mack visits Seattle to make first film as respected director, but finds death at hands of panhandling junkies in "last cool coffee shop on Capitol Hill."

Most memorable scene: "Out, Damned Spot" mirror monologue, when Beth discovers crystal meth skin splotches haven't disappeared even after facelift heals.

Cool celeb cameos: Christina Ricci as Witch, Anne Heche and Flea as Murderous Junkies

Word Around Tinseltown: "First Hitchcock and now Shakespeare. Doesn't Van Sant do anything original anymore?"

Resulting trend: Dressing down in LA

Title: Shrew

Will's version: The Taming of the Shrew

Director: David Lynch

Pitch: "Even weirder than Lost Highway"

Players: Dennis Hopper as Leon Christ, Kyle Machlachlan as Officer Mark, Patricia Arquette as Katherine/Madame Shrew, Dennis Hopper as Psychopath, Sherilyn Fenn as Prostitute Twins

Synopsis: Leon Christ, gas station attendant, accidentally inhales toxic fumes and has vision of Katherine, blind Vancouver lounge singer who runs backwoods brothel as Madame Shrew. Officer Mark falls for Katherine at border Elvis diner while on assignment to locate and arrest Madame Shrew. A serial-killer clown, devious twin schoolgirl prostitutes, a dead lion in the middle of a drawbridge, and a karaoke wedding ceremony performed by Marilyn Manson later, Officer Mark discovers Katherine and Madame Shrew are same, just as Katherine learns Officer Mark is psychopath clown. Alternate egos aside, couple marries in psychiatric ward.

Most memorable scene: Schoolgirl prostitutes dancing with each other in front of sinking mountain

Resulting trend: Carrot cake and Elvis impersonators

Title : Mr. Lear

Will's version: King Lear

Pitch: "Evita meets Giant meets House of the Spirits. Kinda."

Unofficial pitch: "To put an end to all these damn Shakespeare flicks"

Players: Antonio Banderas as Mr. Lear, Gwyneth Paltrow as Cordelia, Madonna as Goneril, Celine Dion as Regan

Setting: PreCivil War New Orleans

Synopsis: Some broken family drama, kinda French, kinda Spanish, lots of singing

Most memorable scene: Goneril and Regan wrestling over bag of gold coins in muddy swamp

Most memorable scandal: Madonna and Celine Dion exchanging profanities at Vanity Fair promotional photo shoot

Word Around Tinseltown: "Gwyneth will never sing in this town again."

Resulting trend: Musicals

Title: Star Wars: Antonia-1 and C3PO

Will's version: Antony and Cleopatra

Director: George Lucas

Pitch: "Why not milk two hot markets at once?"

Players: Jennifer Love Hewitt as Antonia-1/Princess Liana, Hugh Grant as voice of C3PO, Matt Damon as Anakin Skywalker, Gary Coleman as Lindo Calrissian, along with rest of overpaid cast of Phantom Menace

Setting: Tunisia, Borneo, Mars if they don't go over budget

Synopsis: Anakin Skywalker and C3PO pay visit to Jabba the Hutt's palace on Tatooine to arrange lift to meet Yoda in Dagobah System. C3PO falls in love at first sight with Boba Fett's companion droid, Antonia-1. Fett freezes Skywalker into carbonite statue as gift to Emperor. C3PO and Antonia-1 elope to Cloud City. Antonia-1 dismantles during rooftop sunset scene, reveals herself as secret Rebel Princess Liana. C3PO and Liana break humano-droid love taboo and copulate using C3PO's Skywalker sexusimilator. Lindo Calrissian holds wedding feast for lovers attended by Ewoks, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and a bawling baby Chewbacca. Through hologram, Liana reveals premonition of future sequels to C3PO. C3PO distraught over secondary role in saga, learns from Obi-Wan Kenobi that Skywalker has already succumbed to Empire. Ashamed at failing Skywalker and his own limited hero potential, C3PO abandons Liana for more humble existence on Tatooine with R2-D2. Liana gives birth to Luke and Leia, kills herself by drinking Jawa Juice. Baby Luke dreams of Yoda handing him light saber.

Most memorable line: A half-naked Princess Liana gasps, "Use the Force, C3PO."

Most ironic scene: Baby Chewbacca biting Lindo Calrissian when he pets the young Wookie

Word Around Tinseltown: "Another bad movie title? Can't Lucas afford a decent screenwriter?"

Resulting trend: Revival of Princess Lianda/Leia cinnamon-bun-head look

 
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