Are 'She's the Man' and 'The Lion King' really rooted in Shakespeare? In a word, yes.
Shakespeare might be celebrating his 450th birthday but the classic playwright is far from being irrelevant. Whilst his works have been adapted many times on screen, there are also many more unlikely films whose script owes more than a little to Shakespeare. Take these five for example, which prove that Shakespeare’s work is alway open to interpretation.
Amanda Bynes starred in She's the Man
She's the Man
The tale of a girl who disguises herself as a boy and ends up falling for a boy who thinks she’s a boy is surprisingly very Shakespearian. This 2006 Amanda Bynes vehicle took the premise of Twelfth Night, brought it to an American boarding school and added in a soccer theme creating a thoroughly modern twist on a Shakespeare classic. Only problem was, it wasn't that good. Still, it took over $57 million at the box office and has developed a cult following, apparently.
The Lion King
The writer’s of Disney’s The Lion King took their inspiration from Hamlet when making this animated classic. The story of a young prince (Simba) whose father (Mufasa) is killed by his uncle (Scar) is one of the greatest stories Shakespeare ever told. Move it to the animal kingdom and throw in some catchy tunes and you've got a Disney classic, oh and don't forget to add in a happy ending.
Julia Stiles was the shrew in 10 Things I Hate About You
10 Things I Hate About You
On the surface, this 1999 high school comedy starring Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles might look as far away from Shakespeare as you can get, but you'd be very wrong. 10 Things I Hate About You was based on The Taming of the Shrew and was actually a pretty faithful adaptation, albeit with a modern twist. Ledger played Patrick Verona, (based on Shakespeare’s Petruchio) an outsider who falls for a ‘shrew’ Kat (Julia Stiles) and goes about trying to, well, 'tame' her. See, pretty faithful.
My Own Private Idaho
The movie that launched River Phoenix’s all too short career finds its roots in Shakespeare’s Henry IV Parts 1&2. In Gus Van Sant’s film Phoenix plays a young hustler who embarks on a journey of self discovery alongside Keanu Reeves. Despite the modern setting the film’s dialogue actually manages to paraphrase a lot of Shakespeare’s original text, whilst never sounding remotely old fashioned.
River Phoenix starred in My Own Private Idaho
Perhaps the most surprising title on the list is 1956 sci-fi adventure, Forbidden Planet. Despite being set in an alien world, its major plot points and themes are all borrowed from Shakespeare’s The Tempest. This one might neither look nor sound like Shakespeare, but it owes more than most to one of his best known classic works.