The Bard


A Screenplay


The true story of William Shakespeare's tumultuous, bisexual life, revealed through the diary of his heart, as societal forces seek to destroy him.




THE BARD has gone through a number iterations, incorporating feedback from independent industry critics at The Black List, the industry marketplace for movie scripts. 10 of the last 20 Oscars for 'Best Screenplay' came through the Black List. Reviews are carried out exclusively by approved industry professionals.  Below is some of the feedback received for The Bard..

THE BARD is exceptionally well-written. Its dialogue and actions are never less than strong and sometimes marvelously charged.
THE BARD is a heartfelt and romantic period drama that does an excellent job of humanizing the most famous playwright in history.
THE BARD was a deeply pleasant surprise. Considering the subject matter, there was always some danger that this script would come across more like fan-fiction than history. Instead, it’s able to neatly explore the unanswered and perhaps unanswerable questions about many aspects of William Shakespeare’s personal life in a way that feels sympathetic to just about every character involved. It has the feeling of a completely true story despite the fact that its events are more an embellishment of history into alt-history than exact reality.
THE BARD is a well-written script with some sweet moments that could attract a similar audience as SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE but which is distinct enough to stand apart as an independent and unique project.
The sonnets are used in an artistic and entertaining way. This is one of the most unique aspects to the story, and really does an effective job of pulling together William’s beautiful writing and poetry. Beyond this, they are placed well into the world, in the context of the scenes. They work almost like the formatting of a musical, in the way that we lead into the sonnets and then they take over the scenes.
The dialogue throughout generally feels authentic to the era and the character delivering it, especially when it comes to some of the witty yet heartfelt banter.
It may be a bit bawdy for younger viewers but it has a very contemporary tone that should appeal to modern audiences.
The sonnets are well-placed and the script does a fantastic job at interweaving the sonnets with speculative life events of Shakespeare.
It’s genuinely refreshing to read a script that engages directly with Shakespeare’s largely-erased queerness right from the start.
In terms of casting there are a number of juicy roles, both for the main characters and the supporting ones, that should appeal to actors and actresses alike. It goes without saying that William is a strong role for a leading man but Queen Elizabeth and King James could be solid cameo opportunities as well.
THE BARD is an ambitious retelling of Shakespeare’s life and career inspired by his own words. While it’s clear that some creative liberties have been taken, the use of the sonnets to cement milestones and significant moments in the Bard’s life is an effective device used to create a narrative through line in an inventive way.
Most of the ties-ins to the sonnets feel real or as if they could have legitimately happened, making this feature’s historical speculation really work and makes Shakespeare’s sexuality and self-discovery feel very compelling.
For all the complications of his personal life, the script still skillfully shows us the power of Shakespeare’s theater.
The London setting is both historically necessary and well explored, with a great theater and an even greater audience (Queen Elizabeth, King James) lending a sense of history and scale to Shakesepeare’s accomplishments, while the crawl at the end detailing the fates of the supporting characters is satisfying.
While there have been a number of feature films that have explored the life and times of the Bard in a variety of ways, perhaps most notably “Shakespeare in Love,” THE BARD still manages to feel fresh.
This script has a bold and admirable intent to reclaim Shakespeare’s complex sexuality and its connection to his work.
William Shakespeare remains perhaps the most beloved dramatist of all time, and a solid biopic such as this is appealing.
Anne is a victim of her husband’s infidelity, but the script is not blind to her suffering, as it adds one more thread to a complex web of love and loss.
Its settings are well drawn as well, from the theaters of Stratford Upon Avon to the more urban climate of London, the script is visually rich and varied.
...when we do hear the poetry, it stands out as stirring and even breathtaking.
We get to see a very conflicted, at times selfish, and talented protagonist come to life on the page. His story is tragic in many ways, but feels fitting for the premise, and ultimately entertaining throughout. The sonnets are powerful, in their words, and the ways that they’re utilized.
There is the potential for a great role in Will that could attract an actor with the clout to get a project like this off the ground.
With a little further development, this could become a truly special project.
Shakespeare as the protagonist is a compelling figure with clear motivation and well defined wants and needs. Given his historical prominence, Shakespeare has always been a quixotic figure considering how little is truly known about his identity so this retelling of his life stands out as a fresh way to explore a familiar figure.

THE BARD is a completed screenplay, available for review by registered filmmakers on the Black List.

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