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THE DAILY TELEGIRAFFE

Woody Allen as Hamlet? Sure--at least by way of Billy Crystal, who appeared on Clive Anderson's show in the U.K. (Thanks to Catherine E. Kerrigan for the transcript)

Billy Crystal talks to Clive Anderson

BC: . . . No, scary was when I did Hamlet with Ken Branagh a couple of years ago. I played the gravedigger. And for me sounding like I do and coming from the background I do, to have to embrace the Bard's words as a strapping gravedigger, that was scary, coz you don't want to sound like a dope, like you know Tony Curtis in Spartacus (mimics Curtis) - "Well, you know, I love you Spartacus, you're like the father I never knew. You know, my name is Antoninus, I'm a singer of songs, I also juggle." (Lots of laughter from the audience - Crystal reverts to own voice.) I didn't want to sound like that.

CA: Well, there's no reason you couldn't be an American gravedigger.

BC: (mimics De Niro) Whose grave is this? Whose grave is this? Whose grave is this? (Reverts to own voice) Actually when Ken Branagh, who's a genius at working with that material, he's just a great guy, called me to play this part, he said to me as we were fumbling our way, as I was fumbling my way, why don't you rehearse this and this time do it with a Brooklyn accent - he does a great American accent - and think of yourself as, and he said at the time, Robert De Niro - this is not a routine or anything like that - try it like that and just do the best you can. So the first lines, I forget what they are, it was (goes into De Niro mode) like um, ah, um, ahyah, ah, you know, ah, whose grave? Whose grave? Whose grave is this? Is this, is this, is this, is this, heyah, is this a Christian burial? Is this a Christian burial? Is this a Christian burial? You're not answering the questions. I'm asking you the right questions. (Reverts to own voice with much laughter from the audience) It was fun to do.

CA: Yeah, I don't know why Kenneth Branagh didn't go the whole hog and get Woody Allen to play Hamlet - because he played Hamlet himself. But don't you think Woody Allen would be a natural to play Hamlet? (Poorly mimics Allen) To be or not be? That, that is the question.

BC: Oh that's good. (Mimics Allen and hold up his hand as though holding a skull.) I, I, I knew this guy. Oh god, he's lost so much weight. (Laughter from the audience.)

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