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Hollywood and Viola

Twelfth Night has been one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies.  The comedy’s protagonist, Viola, has become one of Shakespeare’s most beloved female characters.  It is no surprise that Hollywood has jumped on the bandwagon, with various actresses portraying the character in various adaptations over time.  Here is a list of some of the actresses who have played the character of Viola in recent adaptations of Twelfth Night.

Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway in 2009’s Shakespeare In The Park production

Amanda Bynes in She’s The Man, a modern adaptation loosely based on Twelfth Night (2006)

Imogen Stubbs in a 1996 film adaptation

Helen Hunt in a 1998 TV adaptation

The character of Viola has become one of the most portrayed characters in the Shakespearean universe. Whether it be a televised stage performance, or  a modern adaptation of Twelfth Night, the character of Viola is one of the most memorable characters in the play, and these actresses have done their job to make the character memorable to viewers.

Image Sources:

– New York Times (Anne Hathaway)

– Google (Amanda Bynes & Helen Hunt

-Eras of Elegance (Imogen Stubbs)

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  1. usedtoliveinstaana
    October 14, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Twelfth Night, I believe, is THE Shakespeare play for actresses. Lady Macbeth, though really powerful, is easier only because it’s easier to act negative emotions. Cleopatra’s just too enjoyable to be difficult. So is Rosalind, just a delight of a character that the role almost guarantees an actress her moment of glory. But Viola — man, is she a difficult, puzzling, tightrope-walk of a role! How do you justify her cross-dressing? How do you justify being attracted to a love-sick Orsino despite your brilliant intellect? You obviously deserve someone better than that buffoon hahaha And how can you be so joyous and witty a character at the same time battling the deepest separation anxiety from no less than your twin? WOW! A truly amazing role! Shakespeare at his trickiest!

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