Jodie Foster and Hamlet: A Match Made in Heaven
Jodie Foster, meet Hamlet, prince of Denmark. You make quite a pair, and you'll never run out of things to talk about.
Hamlet's 400 years older, but he's still to die for, whether you're gay or straight. You each have a gift for knockout speeches that dig deep into the marrow of our bones. Yes, you dazzle and puzzle audiences, from the Elizabethan age to our global village.
At the Golden Globes, Jodie, your mesmerizing monologue made the match sing to me. So here's the pitch: the timeless spark between a princess of Hollywood and the Danish prince in the Bard's tragedy. The screen and stage stars meet their match at last — and Harvey Weinstein's already planning the PR blitz.
Reader, can't you hear Jodie chime in as Hamlet speaks his lines: "To be or not to be" — whereupon it's her cue to declare, "I'm 50! I'm 50." For an actress to come out with a simple truth about her actual age was astonishing as she accepted a lifetime achievement award (which made her sound old enough). In this crowd, 50 can be cruel to women; ask Demi Moore. We women of a certain age loved her for that.
We'll cut the scene of Ophelia drowning herself covered in flowers, with famous last words: "O, woe is me/T' have seen what I have seen, see what I see."
Drowning in despair — that is so not you, Jodie, always the survivor in the bitter end, lambs or no lambs. Hamlet is the moody type, more vulnerable than your character. So the mercurial prince needs to be with a sassy, sexy, strong-minded woman who knows her own power.
The silver Armani dress you wore looked like a sleek suit of armor, Jodie. It'll fit right in at Elsinore, with Horatio, Laertes and the castle lords and ladies.
As far as Shakespearean dialogue, we'll stick with what we know, the big money scene: "To be, or not to be, that is the question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles ..." Imagine Hamlet playing at London's old Globe, the sweet prince flirting with suicide.
Hamlet's searching soliloquy plays like a dream next to Jodie's angst in her rambling speech: "So, a declaration that I'm a little nervous about, but maybe not quite as nervous as my publicist ... But you know I'm just going to put it out there, right? Loud and proud, right?. ... I am single. Yes, I am. I am single. No, I'm kidding, but I mean I'm not really kidding. ..."
The tension was taut even in the Globes' cooler-than-thou setting. Afterward, everyone said she was going to say she was gay, but changed her mind. "Ms. Foster was eloquent, except when she went wobbly," wrote Alessandra Stanley, the television critic for The New York Times. "Mostly, it was a singular, contradictory and at times poignant unburdening by an actress."
I might add: Maybe Jodie expressed exactly what she meant. Being 50 and single — a "spinster," in Hamlet's day — looks pretty good on her. She wears it well. It doesn't mean she's alone in the world, or looked down upon. It's a noble, daring declaration of independence.
Jodie, you could leave Hamlet and show business in a tragic parting, telling him if he had seen what she had seen since she was a toddler, "you too might value privacy above all else."
In Hollywood, that's choosing not to be.
To find out more about Jamie Stiehm, and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com
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