The films – chronicling a bloody tale of family, politics and power — tell the rise and fall of three Kings and how their destiny shaped English history. Richard II (Ben Whishaw) is a vain, self-indulgent man who rules with little regard for his people’s welfare. He is ultimately overthrown by his cousin Bolingbroke (Rory Kinnear), who ascends the throne as Henry IV (Jeremy Irons). Henry IV’s reign is marred by his own guilt over Richard’s death, civil war, and the gnawing fear that his son Hal (Tom Hiddleston) is a total wastrel unworthy of the throne. When Hal comes to the throne as Henry V he is left to bury the ghosts of his father’s past while fighting both the French forces as well as his own inner demons.
Directed by Rupert Goold (Richard II), Richard Eyre (Henry IV, Part 1 and Henry IV, Part 2) and Thea Sharrock (Henry V), The Hollow Crown features some of the most pre-eminent Shakespearean actors of our time. The Kings are played by Ben Whishaw, Jeremy Irons and Tom Hiddleston respectively, supported by a phenomenal cast including Rory Kinnear, Patrick Stewart, David Suchet, David Morrissey in Richard II,Simon Russell Beale, Michelle Dockery, Julie Walters and Maxine Peake in Henry IV and John Hurt, Anton Lesser and Paterson Joseph in Henry V.
Watch The Hollow Crown: Shakespeare's History Plays Preview on PBS. See more from Great Performances.
The clip at about the 1:10 mark, where Tom Hiddleston as Henry V gives the Saint Crispin's Day speech...people, I GET CHILLS. And TEARS. If this preview is turning me into that much of a mess I may never survive watching the entire play.
The plays begin September 20th, also know as Ruth's Birthday EVE, so I will go ahead and thank PBS for basically the best birthday present of all time. :)