Shakespeare’s Star Wars and Other Thoughts: An Interview with Ian Doescher

VANAPHASE™ the Vanadium powerhouse!

Ian_Doescher_Shakespeares_Star_WarsIan Doescher is the author of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily a New Hope, The Empire Striketh Back, and the upcoming The Jedi Doth Return. He is also a song-writer who once spent a year writing geeky songs about his home town, Portland, Oregon. Here, he takes time to discuss his work with FanboyNation’s Jessica Greenlee.

Jessica Greenlee When did you decide to write a Shakespearean Star Wars?

Ian Doescher In the middle of 2012, three things happened in close succession: I rewatched the entire Star Wars trilogy with good friends of mine, I read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (one of the first in the mash-up genre of literature), and my family and I went to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. So I attribute the idea for William Shakespeare’s Star Wars to those three things colliding in my brain.

J. G.When did you first encounter Shakespeare’s work?

I.D. When I was in eighth grade, my brother Erik was a senior in high school and was reading Hamlet. I thought he was cool so I bought a copy of Hamlet myself, so I could be reading it with him. I hardly touched it, but from that point on I at least told myself I was into Shakespeare. The next year, as a freshman in high school, we read Othello in English class and I was hooked. I had been very involved in theater, so reading something for English class that was also something that was meant to be performed was fun. I was the nerd who would memorize the soliloquys and then perform them standing on my desk in English class. I had patient teachers.

J. G.How do you prepare for writing the books on the Star Wars side?

Star-Wars-Shakespeare-Verily-a-New-HopeI.D. The writing process was a matter of sitting down with my computer with the DVD of whichever movie I was working on in it, and the online script (thank you, blueharvest.net!) open. Then, I would watch a few seconds of the movie, remind myself of the exact dialogue, look to the script in case there were details I needed (minor characters’ names, for instance), and then see how those lines might translate into something approximating Elizabethan English. I usually would try to get two or three minutes of the movie finished each night when I sat down to write.

J. G.What about the Shakespeare side of things? Do you reread a lot of plays? Watch them? Memorize speeches?

I.D. I’ve found myself reading through snippets of plays, and I’ve seen a handful of plays performed since I started writing the Star Wars books, but I haven’t actually read through a whole play in a few years. I’d like to go back through and reread the complete works (something I did back in 1999), but I haven’t made the time for it yet.

J. G.You have mentioned elsewhere that Return of the Jedi is your favorite Star Wars movie. Do you have a favorite Shakespeare play? Do you have any favorite movie or stage versions of any play or plays?

I.D. I think my favorite Shakespeare play overall is Hamlet, though I’m also a big fan of The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing, and Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 and Henry V. That list is heavily influenced by the fact that I was in high school and college when Kenneth Branagh made Much Ado and Hamlet. I love Julie Taymor’s Tempest, and I also saw an amazing production of The Tempest in college that was staged around the college’s Olympic-quality pool. Great concept.

J. G.You draw from both Romeo and Juliet and Beatrice and Benedick for Han and Leia. Which couple do you think they are most like?

I.D. Definitely Beatrice and Benedick—I think Han and Leia enjoy the parrying back and forth they do with each other. Romeo and Juliet had passion, but didn’t use their wits on each other, and Han and Leia definitely do.

J. G. What made you decide that the Wampa needed a monologue in The Empire Striketh Back?

I.D. When I sat down to start writing Empire, I knew I wanted the second book to be even more “out there” in terms of the choices I made, even more unexpected surprises for people who knows the movies backward and forward and maybe had already read William Shakespeare’s Star Wars. The wampa presented that opportunity early on in Empire, hopefully a way to signal to readers, “Hey, we’re going to have a lot of fun here.”

J. G What is something you are particularly looking forward to presenting in The Jedi Doth Return? Is there a particular character or relationship we should be watching for?

I.D. As I’ve worked on Jedi, it has been fun finding something new to do with the Ewok speech. I’ve already played around with non-English dialogue in William Shakespeare’s Star Wars and The Empire Striketh Back, so I wanted to find something totally new to do with the Ewoks. Also, it has been fun getting inside Darth Vader’s head as he transforms from someone who is totally evil into someone who can imagine saving his son from the clutches of the Emperor.

J. G.Is there any character that you especially like or that gave you extra difficulty?

I.D. Writing Luke has been surprisingly fun, because I never loved him that much in the movies (particularly Star Wars). I’ve enjoyed giving voice to characters who don’t otherwise get to talk much—like the Wampa—because that has been a fun exercise in imagination: “What would that character say?”

J. G. Do you have any plans for future Shakespearean works other than Star Wars?

I.D. Possibly. But nothing is certain yet!

empire striketh backJ. G. You’re also a song-writer with four albums out. Are there more albums to come? Do you tend to stick to one particular style or vary your approach? Is there a song or songs you think we should listen to to get an idea of what you write?  And, is this why the Ugnaughts sing in Cloud City?

I.D. Music has been a passion for me since high school—just like Shakespeare—so I will always keep writing music and singing. In terms of something that exemplifies my songwriting, “The Elephant Swing” or “Mr. Zamboni Man” probably come pretty close. They’re a cappella, they’re totally ridiculous. After writing William Shakespeare’s Star Wars and adding in a song for Leia when Alderaan is destroyed, I knew I wanted to add more songs to the subsequent books. Hence the Ugnaughts. (And yes, I’ve definitely imagined how their song would sound!)

J. G. How much do your musical interests influence your written work? Is there music you tend to listen to when you write?

I.D. Honestly, I think the answer is there’s not a lot of crossover, except for the fact that lots of lyric writing over the years has helped me be more fluid (and more picky) with meter and rhyme. And that definitely helped. I almost never listen to music when I write. Anything with words distracts me too much, so if I listen to anything, it’s classical (Bach is a particular favorite).

J.G. Thanks so much for taking the time to do this!

YogaOutlet.com

No Responses

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
‘I Feel Bad,’ Episode Two is Better than the Pilot (Minimal Spoilers)

About half an hour ago, I let loose my frustrations on...

‘I Feel Bad’ Continues the Whitewashing of Asian Cultures

I Feel Bad made me feel awful as yet another show...

Cabin Boy Blu-ray
Fancy Lads Rejoice! ‘Cabin Boy’ is Finally on Blu-ray

Chris Elliot is nobody’s idea of a leading man, but for...

Event News Event Reviews
viz media
Have no Fear, for Viz Media is Here! – SDCC 2018

I grew up reading more manga than I did American comics....

Transformers: The Movie Theatrical Debut
32 Years Ago Today, Was The Transformers: The Movie Theatrical Debut

On this day, 32 years ago, the world was graced with The...

Blizzard SDCC 2018
Blizzard SDCC 2018 – Blizzard Entertainment Brings Massive Lineup to SDCC

Blizzard in SDCC 2018 – Blizzard Entertainment brings Overwatch, StarCraft, and...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Exclusive Track Premiere from Madden NFL 19!

(July 26, 2018 – Los Angeles, CA) – Lakeshore Records today...

Star Ocean Anamnesis
8.0/10
The Most Intuitively Fun Gameplay of Any Mobile RPG – Star Ocean Anamnesis Review

Star Ocean Anamnesis is hands down the most fun and intuitive gameplay...

Ghostbusters World
Strap On Your Jumpsuits and Proton Packs – Ghostbusters World First Look

Ghostbusters World First Look at SDCC2018 – When someone asks you if...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Five Questions for Gary Morgenstein About ‘A Mound Over Hell’

Gary Morgenstein is a journalist, public relations expert and author with...

Ralph Breaks the Internet Graphic Novel
Dark Horse Disney Ralph Breaks the Internet Graphic Novel Revealed

Dark Horse reveals new original Disney Ralph Breaks the Internet Graphic...

black torch
Black Torch – New Supernatural, Action Manga from Viz Media

VIZ Media releases a new, supernatural story with the release of...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
DC Collectibles Brings Batman Dark Nights: Metal to Life

Straight from the pages of the bestselling DARK NIGHTS: METAL comics series comes...

pix
Make Better PIX this Year with PIX Smart Animative Backpack

Start the school year off by making better life PIX, like picking up...

Chuck Billy of Testament Talks About His Signature Vaporizer

Chuck Billy of Testament talks about, “The Chief” his signature vaporizer,...

Arena Football Automotives MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Bellator Hawaii to be Exlusively Aired on DAZN

From Bellator MMA – LOS ANGELES – The Neal S. Blaisdell Arena...

USA Boxing’s 1st West Coast Alumni Association Comes to Hollywood

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (September 11, 2018) – The stars will be...

Trifecta/UFC Kick-off Golden Ticket Giveaway for Sold Out UFC 229 Khabib vs. McGregor Epic VIP Experience

Running from today, September 11th through September 16th, the first 250 orders...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Fantoy Comics presents: Harry Potter and the cat conjuring pt: 5… no, 4!

Oh this cat conjuring thing is getting out of hand!

Fantoy Comics Presents Harry Potter and the Cat Conjuring Pt3

Pt 3 of the epic non-canonical Harry Potter and the Cat...

Fantoy Comics Presents – Harry Potter and the Cat Conjuring pt 2

Pt 2 in the epic non-canonical adventure of Harry Potter and...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Coastal Commoners Ep 2 Who’s Better Chris Jericho or Ric Flair and The Black Superman ‘Controversy’

This week Gary and R.C. respectfully disagree on who the better...

Coastal Commoners Ep 1 Rosh Hashanah and the Assyrian/Jewish Connection

Editor’s Note: The views of Mr. Morgenstein and Mr. Samo do...

Gaming Uncensored: Year in Review 2016

A look back at the year in gaming. Related

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Deadpool 2 Vinyl Giveaway!

We are giving away a copy of Deadpool 2 Score Soundtrack on...

Crisis on Earth-X Soundtrack
Blake Neely Behind-the-Scenes Recording of Crisis on Earth-X Soundtrack

Check out this exclusive Behind-The-Scenes video with Blake Neely as he...

Rising Country Music Artist Kaylin Roberson Talks About her work with St. Jude

Kaylin Roberson is a singer, songwriter and pianist from Raleigh, North...

%d bloggers like this: