The film’s the thing. But, for a motion-picture celebrity, nothing confers the prestige that a theatrical engagement does: it’s “live,” it’s “dangerous,” there’s “nowhere to hide.” To be—or merely to be screened: that is the question. Daniel Day-Lewis, one of Hollywood’s fashionable contingent of rangey Anglo-Celts, opted for Hamlet at Britain’s National Theatre and awakened so many long dormant feelings about his own father, the poet C. Day-Lewis, that he had a nervous breakdown. Moreover, the very fact of his nervous breakdown—which is mostly what anyone remembers about his Hamlet—is seen as a triumphant vindication of his decision to take the role: he confronted his demons! live on stage!—and you can’t do that in Look Who’s Talking, Too. Keanu Reeves emerged less scathed from his Hamlet but still with his status considerably...


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