In The Year 3000

Romeo 3000Here’s a funny story that offers a glimpse into how I find some of the more unusual links I post here.

  • There’s a random Friends episode on in the background. They make a reference to a fictional character who’d performed in a Macbeth movie. They then pin it in time by saying, “They showed the trailer before Jackass.”
  • Well off I go to IMDB to see if there’s any interesting Macbeth adaptations that came out right around a year after Jackass (2001).
  • I find this weird 2003 version that is supposedly set in a surreal fantasy world where reality keeps changing.
  • Random browsing gets me interested in whatever happened to the Romeo and Juliet: The War movie that was supposed to be coming out.
  • It’s still in development so IMDB won’t let me see any details. I go googling and find this Variety article from 2015. There’s a comment on the bottom of that article from a guy named John Schnurr saying, “I just filmed this same plot, please don’t make this movie.”
  • <shrug> Sounds like a unique enough name.  Found him!  I look for Shakespeare credits (amid the pro-wrestling credits, strangely enough).
  • Sure enough, look what I found!  I give you… Romeo 3000.

This looks *so* bad. I don’t mean the acting or the special effects. Got to love everybody rocking the Borg eyepiece, the oddly out of place steampunk villain, and Romeo with the Winter Soldier arm.  Those are all straight out of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 (oooo, the irony of making things sound sci-fi by adding 3000 at the end….)

No, I’m talking about the painful “This sounds like Shakespeare” writing. In the trailer alone:

  • “This be the year 3000…”
  • “This be not the story of star-cross’d lovers…”
  • “Romeo be the last of his line.”
  • “Romeo, Romeo, where arst thou Romeo?”

I’ll give them this, it looks like they sure went for it with whatever budget they had.  It’s actually a good trailer, with a nice quality video that shows it wasn’t shot on a potato. The fight scenes look like they could be fun.  Everybody’s acting their damnedest. And there’s some money left over for special effects.

Keep an eye out for the full-length version and report back if you ever get to see it!



Shakespeare Crossword Clue, Macbeth, 4 Letters

Coworker:  “Shakespeare a clue in my crossword this morning.”

Me:  “I die.”

Coworker:  “What?”

Me: “Sorry. Was it, Romeo’s last words? Because I know that one.”

Coworker:  “No.  It was, ‘the witches in Macbeth’.”

I thought I had this one.

Me:  “Wyrd.”

Coworker:  “Nope.”

I admitted I was stumped.  What else could you say that was specific to Macbeth’s witches, in only 4 letters?

Coworker:  “They wanted ‘trio’.”

Me:  “Well that’s just … that’s annoying.  There’s nothing Shakespeare about that answer.”

Coworker:  “I know, but sometimes they’re like that.  Don’t feel bad, I had the t and the o and I still didn’t get it.”

I was obviously thrown off by Michael Fassbender’s Macbeth, because that one had four witches.  🙂


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Free Audiobooks From The Master of Verona

We can say we knew him when.  Author David Blixt has been around and commenting on Shakespeare Geek almost since its inception (I found this post from April 2008 to give you an idea).  That’s a review of The Master of Verona, book one of his Star-Cross’d series.

And now he’s giving away 10 copies of the audiobook version to Shakespeare Geek readers!

Cangrande della Scala is everything a man should be. Daring. Ambitious. Charming. Brilliant. Ruthless. To the poet Dante – indeed, to the world – Cangrande is the ideal Renaissance prince.

Until Dante’s son discovers a secret that could be Cangrande’s undoing.

Suddenly thrust into the schemes and betrayals surrounding Verona’s prince, Pietro Alighieri must navigate a rivalry that severs a friendship, divides a city, and sparks a feud that will produce Shakespeare’s famous starcrossed lovers, Romeo & Juliet!
Based on the plays of William Shakespeare and the poetry of Dante, THE MASTER OF VERONA is a sweeping novel of Renaissance Italy. Filled with swashbuckling adventure, unrequited love, and brutal treachery, this epic journey recalls the best of Bernard Cornwell, Sharon Kay Penman, and Dorothy Dunnett.

We’re going simple with this one – just comment below if you want one! First come first served.  Make sure you give the site a valid email address so we can email you back!

BONUS!  If audiobooks aren’t your thing, the Kindle edition will be available for FREE on September 26th!

Everybody say it with me now, “Thank you, David!”





When You’re A Jet (West Side Story Reboot Is Coming)

Are we ready for a new West Side Story?

What if I told you Stephen Spielberg is directing?

The casting call is up!  September 11.

The announcement comes from the office of casting director Cindy Tolan. Auditions will take place at Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet in Brooklyn, with the sign-in for men beginning at 9AM and the sign-in for women beginning at 1PM.

The call stipulates auditionees should be between 15 and 25 years old with a strong dance background and ability to sing, and also specifies: “the Sharks are Latinx, the Jets are Caucasian.”

The original is certainly dated (look at that dialogue!) so that’s screaming for a rewrite. Will all those dance numbers still hold an audience’s attention?  All the “coming to America” songs and aspects of the story are still as strong as ever, but I hope they don’t go over the top and make it purely commentary on the current administration.

West Side Story
A little bit of West Side Story dialogue.


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That’s What Friends Are For

One of my favorite things is when people come up to me and say, “I saw something the other day and thought of you,” and it turns out to be a Shakespeare reference of some sort. I especially love it when it’s friends I rarely hear from or coworkers with whom I wouldn’t otherwise interact during the day.  I always relay the story here and I always say “My plan is working.” Because every time that happens, that means that there’s a little more Shakespeare awareness in the world.  Whatever it is that I’m doing, that the people around me are picking up and taking with them in the back of their brains, made them recognize a Shakespeare thing they saw, and pay enough attention to it and think, “I have to tell Duane about that.”  (Seriously, just this week a coworker told me that at an antique store he spotted a coffee mug in the shape of Shakespeare’s head. “I thought you’d like that. But it’s not like I was going to buy an antique for you.”)

I am extra happy to report that the next generation has taken over.  As summer vacations wrap up and the kids get ready to get back into the school schedule, sports practices begin and so on, my daughter texted me a picture and said, “Look what I got!”

Turns out one of her friends went to Italy for vacation and, while in Verona looking at “Juliet’s balcony”, decided that she had to bring my daughter home a present.

On the one hand it’s a just little tchotchke brought back from vacation, like a souvenir spoon or refrigerator magnet. But I see it quite differently. I see it a whole new generation of Shakespeare geeks.  My daughter’s friends know that she’s “into Shakespeare.”  So now they’re the ones seeing Shakespeare things in the world and thinking, “Hey, I should tell her about that.”  Now my daughter’s actually starting her own collection of memories along those lines.  Hopefully one day (NOT soon!) one of her kids sees this hanging out on a knick knack shelf, takes it down to admire, and starts hearing stories about Romeo and Juliet?  

My plan is working better than I could have dreamed.


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