Shakespeare’s back! ‘Will’ premieres July 10, and we talked EXCLUSIVELY with Jamie Campbell Bower, who plays Christopher Marlowe, about what to expect from Marlowe and Will’s dynamic and more!
The Bard rises again! The drama follows a young William Shakespeare after his arrival to London in 1589. Will is going to be a punk rock take on the Elizabethan era, filled with a modern soundtrack to go along with his recklessness, desire, and wild ambition. Laurie Davidson stars as the young Will, alongside Jamie Campbell Bower, 28, who plays fellow famous playwright Christopher Marlowe, Olivia DeJonge, 19, Mattias Inwood, Colm Meaney, 64, and more. At the show’s NYC premiere at Bryant Park, HollywoodLife.com got the chance to chat with Jamie about taking on such a pivotal literary figure.
What’s the dynamic between Marlowe and Will?
Jamie Campbell Bower: There’s a massive rivalry between the two of them, an intellectual rivalry, but also I think because of Marlowe’s early success, we’re saying he became fairly jaded. He’s doing everything he possibly can do to inspire himself, and he’s sees Will and sees parts of himself in Will, of his younger self, and whether he either wants to develop or maybe steal, it’s kind of the same in whatever creative sphere you’re in. You meet someone who’s new and excited about it and you’re like, “Amazing. I love it. I want your energy. I want your power. Let me take it away from you.” That’s kind of where Marlowe’s at.
When we first meet Marlowe, what’s happening with him?
Jamie Campbell Bower: So Marlowe has just had this success of Tamburlaine, and he is basically at the top of his game in terms of the public sphere. He’s revered, he’s successful, he’s a rock star basically, and he is struggling.
Where did you draw your inspiration for Marlowe?
Jamie Campbell Bower: Well, I mean, obviously he’s a real man, so the text speaks for itself in terms of what he wrote and there’s obviously a lot written about Marlowe. On a personal side, I put myself in a situation when we were working that was isolated. I lived in the middle of the woods in a cottage, like in a barn basically. Marlowe is struggling with the idea of the creative process and also coming to terms with mortality throughout the show, his own mortality, so I wanted to be in discomfort when we were working on it. That’s what I did. I also read a bunch of really weird text. I picked up a bunch of really odd books, spiritual, weird sh*t. I went deep.
When you were taking on this role, was there something about Marlowe that really stood out to you?
Jamie Campbell Bower: I’ve always been drawn to the darker side of life. I’ve always been drawn to the crueler side of existence. That’s something that fulfills me as a performer and also as a writer. Marlowe was involved in some fairly dodgy things, and so that was exciting when it was put on the table. He’s a man of depth. He’s a little scary. He can be a little scary. But it all comes from a place of need and want and desire.
Will the show address any of the controversies about Marlowe and how he may have faked his death and things like that?
Jamie Campbell Bower: The show touches on certain conspiracy theories. I don’t think it’s a crying shame to say that there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that Marlowe was working for the British government and the queen in terms of perhaps spying. There’s evidence to suggest that, so that’s something that we touch on. There’s other things that we touch on as well.
Will premieres July 10 at 9 p.m. ET on TNT.
HollywoodLifers, are you excited for Will? Let us know!