STRATFORD – Julian Fellowes – the genius behind Downton Abbey – has roundly described William Shakespeare, thought by many to be the most prodigious talent who ever wrote in the English language, as ‘a lowlife c*nt who couldn’t write for toffee.’
Mr. Fellowes was promoting his new version of Romeo and Juliet directed by Carlo Carlei and starring Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth as the star-crossed lovers when he launched into what only can be described as a ‘diatribe’ and/or ‘rant’. Fellowes fumed:
People are always asking me how can I have a writing credit on a film based on a Shakespeare play, how do you approach the great bard and so on. Well, I have to say it was easy because the jumped up little glove merchant from Stratford Upon Avon deserves nothing more than withering contempt. For a start, he’s ill mannered, with many lewd jokes and a very rough sense of decorum and etiquette. I mean the families in Romeo and Juliet – the Montagues and the Capulets – are supposed to be noble, but they’re not even English!
Fellowes went onto say that Shakespeare’s grammar was ‘appalling and his spelling leaves a lot to be desired as well.’
When it comes down to it, one of these old theater luvvies simply can’t compete with the evolved talent of a modern television author of my standing and (and I’m not ashamed to say it) breeding
Fellowes also spoke of his desire to make Romeo and Juliet more English, even forcing through a last minute name change.
Julian Fellowes’ Rodney and Jennifer is to be released in 2014.