Trivia / Richard III

The play

  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: "Off with his head! So much for Buckingham." For many years one of Richard's most iconic lines — but not part of Shakespeare's play. It was added in 1700 by leading-man Colley Cibber.

1955 film

  • Dawson Casting: Although Laurence Olivier was 47 when the film was made, the real King Richard III was only 32 when he died. King Edward IV was 40 when he died but was played by 61-year-old Cedric Hardwicke.
  • Directed By Castmember
  • Production Posse: Laurence Olivier reassembled the production team from his other Shakespeare films, including production designer Roger Furse, art director Carmen Dillon, composer William Walton and associate director Anthony Bushell. As with Henry V, they modeled the film's look on the illustrations in the medieval Book of the Hours.
  • Romance on the Set: Laurence Olivier was having an extra-marital affair with Claire Bloom during filming.
  • Throw It In!: In the opening of the film, Richard accidentally drops the Duke's coronet after the royal party leaves. It was a mistake that Laurence Olivier made, but left in. However, it became a running joke throughout the film and later, you can see the same gag again.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Laurence Olivier wanted to cast Orson Welles in the role of Buckingham, but life-long friend Sir Ralph Richardson wanted the role, and Olivier gave it to him. In his autobiography, Olivier says he wishes he had disappointed Richardson and cast Welles instead as he would have brought an extra element to the screen, an intelligence that would have gone well with the plot element of conspiracy.
    • Olivier originally wanted John Mills and Richard Attenborough to play the murderers. However, Mills thought the idea might be regarded as Stunt Casting, and Attenborough had to pull out due to a scheduling conflict.
    • Vivien Leigh wanted to play Lady Anne, but Olivier chose the younger Claire Bloom instead. Alexander Korda then suggested he cast Leigh in a silent cameo, a role specially created for the film version, but instead Olivier convinced the producer to cast her in another of his films, The Deep Blue Sea (1955), a leading role he felt better suited to her talents.
    • Olivier approached Richard Burton about playing Henry VII.
    • Robert Donat was offered a role.

1995 film

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