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Podcast Episode 77: The First Folio And Shakespearemania

Celebrating the book that gave us Shakespeare and the Bard on film

The First Folio is touring the U.S. and Cinema Junkie celebrates all things S...

Credit: Folger Library

Above: The First Folio is touring the U.S. and Cinema Junkie celebrates all things Shakespeare.

Episode 77: The First Folio And Shakespearemania

The First Folio -- the book that gave us Shakespeare -- is touring the U.S. so Cinema Junkie discusses what the First Folio is, why it is important and my DNA scientists are looking at it. Plus an archive interview with Kenneth Branagh and a new interview with indie filmmaker Pete Shaner.

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Transcript

The First Folio — the book that gave us Shakespeare — is touring the U.S. so what better time to talk about Shakespeare on film.

The First Folio is touring all 50 states in the U.S. and making a stop in San Diego. In this digital age where practically everything is online, why should we care about a four-century-old book? Because without it we would not have "Macbeth," "As You Like It" or "The Tempest."

For some of us, the First Folio is as sacred a document as the Bible, and the fact that the Folger Library is letting one of its 82 copies out into the world is cause for celebration.

The Old Globe's artistic director Barry Edelstein explains what the First Folio is, why it is important, and why DNA scientists are looking at it. The Globe was pivotal in getting the exhibit to stop in San Diego where it will be on exhibit at the San Diego Public Library June 4 through July 7.

I also dig back to a 1989 archive interview with actor-director Kenneth Branagh for a discussion about adapting "Henry V" to the screen. "Henry V" was famously brought to the screen by Sir Laurence Olivier in 1944 as World War II was coming to a close. Branagh says he wasn't intimidated by that previous film but inspired by it to create a film that would speak to a new generation.

The final interview on the podcast is with Pete Shaner, an American independent filmmaker who decided to adapt "As You Like It," one of the plays preserved in the First Folio, to the screen. Shaner discusses how he modernized the play to make the 400-year-old text more accessible to an American audience today.

For more on adapting Shakespeare to film I highly recommend listening to Podcast Episode 5 with Sir Ian McKellan discussing his role as Richard III.

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