Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

Famous Actors/Famous Shakespeare Characters

Ralph Fiennes is taking on the role of Prospero in The Tempest.  As you may remember, Fiennes plays the role of Voldemort in the Harry Potter movies.  According to an interview he did for BBC Radio 4’s Front Row,  “He hopes young Potter fans, who are not usually interested in Shakespeare, could be drawn to the play based on his past experience of moving between film and theatre.” He wants young people to understand that there is “an expressiveness, an extraordinary elasticity of expression in Shakespeare which is thrilling to me and I hope other people find it thrilling.”  Fiennes isn’t the only actor who has appeared in popular films and then done a Shakespeare play. And he may not be your favorite.  For me, Sir Laurence Olivier’s King Lear  (1984) was among the most moving I have ever seen on film.  For live performance, I would have to say that Sir Derek Jacobi’s recent portrayal of King Lear was heart-wrenching.  So, what actor have you seen in a Shakespeare play who gave a memorable performance?  What play and what role did he or she perform?  What was so memorable about the performance?


  • Patrick Stewart (of Star Trek and X-Men popular fame) in both Macbeth as the title and in Hamlet as Claudius. Both exquisite!

  • Sir Ian McKellan as Richard III. He did such a good job taking an unlovable character and making him cheeky and interesting… yet still someone you loathed. Well done, sir!

  • Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart were both terrific in their respective roles. Great choices. Looking forward to hearing from others about their favorites.

  • So they took out their fire arms, and the suspect was
    shot in the foot. Rowling admits she could be writing the further wizarding
    adventures of ‘Harry Potter. HP7 or, Harry Potter 7 or HARRY POTTER & THE DEATHLY HALLOWS slammed the box office this weekend.

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)