Screenplay by Ian McKellen and Richard Loncraine

Scenes 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87 

SCENE 73 

EXT. GARDENS - THE PALACE - DAY

The three generations have escaped to the quiet privacy of the lawn sheltered by the low branches of a spreading chestnut tree.

The DUCHESS OF YORK is protected by her parasol. QUEEN ELIZABETH and PRINCESS ELIZABETH are listening sympathetically to their visitor, who has dropped by for afternoon tea.

LADY ANNE wears a hat and is smoking nervously. All are still in deep mourning.

LADY ANNE 

When scarce the blood was well washed from his hands
Which issued from my other angel-husband;
0 when, I say, I looked on Richard's face, 
This was my wish : 'Be you', I said, 'accursed!
And when you wed, let sorrow haunt your bed.'
Within so small a time, my woman's heart 
Grossly grew captive to his honey words, 
And proved the subject of my own soul's curse.

LADY ANNE has three new allies, but she feels no better for her confession.

'When scarce the blood was well washed from his hands . . .' I had unfeelingly omitted most of this beautiful elegy. After seeing Kristin Scott Thomas be so convincing in scene 23, RL asked me to find some more Shakespeare for her. In the play, this speech (some of which is moved to scene 93) comes just before Anne becomes Queen. Seeing the women gathered away from the men may be a consolation for anyone expecting to hear their long, later scenes of rhetoricised grief, which I judged alien to our film.

Here was one of the few opportunities to legitimately open out the scope of the action by filming in an open space. This shot of Bushy Park in Teddington is the traditional view of the beautiful land that Richard wants to call his own. In the first draft of the screenplay, I had had Richard galloping carefree over the South Downs: a horse, a horse.

SCENE 74 

INT. THE LORD PROTECTOR'S OFFICE - DAY

A GUARD is at the door. CATESBY is standing by, in the sitting area.

RICHARD is obscured by a winged armchair behind an ornate desk. On the wall above is RICHARD'S newly installed insignia.

BUCKINGHAM fills an easy chair.

Perched in the middle of a long sofa, the LORD MAYOR examines the black-and-white police photos of HASTINGS' official execution - his neck half-severed by the hangman's noose.

RICHARD swivels round, revealing his new black-shirted uniform.

RICHARD 
(wiping his eyes) 

So dear I loved the man that I must weep.

BUCKINGHAM
(an upright liar)

Would you believe that the subtle traitor 
Had plotted, in the Parliament, to murder me?

RICHARD clears his throat.

BUCKINGHAM 
(continuing)

 . . . and the Lord Protector?

LORD MAYOR 

Had he done so?

scene 74. Behind his chair, there is a full-length oil painting of Richard looking every inch a leader, with two perfectly formed hands, his leather greatcoat around his shoulders. For the RNT, Bob Crowley designed a massive backcloth similarly celebrating Richard's heroism. From a quick Polaroid®, I was painted naked, the left arm wholly restored and held aloft, in the manner of the Third Reich's monumental symbols of manhood. Richard Eyre believed that the penis (although a copy of my own) was ill-proportioned and had it slightly painted over. For the USA, the portrait was again exhibited but modestly clad in a full suit of armour.

RICHARD 

The civil peace 
Enforced us to this execution.

LORD MAYOR

Now, he deserved his death. And do not doubt 
But I'll acquaint my duteous, city colleagues, 
With all your just proceedings in this cause.

The LORD MAYOR leaves, CATESBY escorting him to the door.

RICHARD

Buckingham, go after to the Council House. 
Infer the bastardy of Edward's children! 
Moreover, urge his hateful lechery, 
Which stretched unto their servants, daughters, wives.

BUCKINGHAM
(laughing)

Doubt not, my Lord. I'll play the orator 
As if the golden fee for which I plead 
Were for myself.

BUCKINGHAM leaves. RICHARD calls CATESBY back.

RICHARD
(continuing)

Catesby! Give order that no manner of person 
Have any time recourse unto the princes.

CATESBY leaves.

Alone, RICHARD places a vinyl record on a record player. Cheerful popular music echoes round the office, as RICHARD re-examines the police photos.

'The civil peace enforced us to this execution.' Richard intends to avoid a coup d'etat by being voted into power with the approval of the powerful business interests of the City of London, whose representative is the Lord Mayor.

RL is deciding where the camera will be positioned. At his feet, a member of Peter Biziou's crew is ready to give the actors our chalk-marked positions on the floor. Then we can leave the set. Our stand-ins will take our places whilst the electricians set up their lights.

'Infer the bastardy of Edward's children!' If the two princes were to be accepted as bastards, Richard could legitimately succeed to the throne. Whether or not he is slandering King Edward, this reveals Richard's bitterness that he feels unattractive to women.

'As if the golden fee for which I plead
Were for myself.'
Buckingham's jokey reminder to Richard that the deal is the Earldom of Hereford etc.

RICHARD re-examines the police photos. Onstage, I had daintily poked a finger into the bloody bucket containing Hastings's severed head. I prefer the film's less messy examination of the execution photos.

SCENE 75 

INT. LOBBY OF THE COUNCIL HOUSE - DAY

The architecture is Victorian Gothic stability, the corridors like naves and the ceilings stretching up to the gods of Commerce and Rectitude. There is no-one about.

There is an increasing murmur of a disorderly meeting from behind a door across the lobby.

From inside, BUCKINGHAM'S voice is raised in frustration.

BUCKINGHAM 
(V.O.) 

God!

BUCKINGHAM bursts through the door, beyond which a full meeting of the City of London has been in session, and makes for the lift. At the doorway, the LORD MAYOR nervously wonders what is now expected of him.

scene 75. There was very little chance of removing anything from the edited film which contained text, as it had already been cut to the bone. However, this invented scene (I had contributed 'God!') seemed redundant within the finished assembly and was deleted.
SCENE 76 

EXT. ARENA - EVENING

Half-underground, the Lord Protector's limousine, with RATCLIFFE at the wheel, draws up at the rear entrance to the great Arena, avoiding the CROWDS, whose murmur can be heard, somewhere above.

TYRELL gets out of the car behind and moves forward to help clear a path through the crowd of Press.

Protected by military black-shirted POLICE,
BUCKINGHAM is waiting to usher RICHARD into
the building.

RICHARD is anxious about what happened at the meeting.

RICHARD

What say the citizens?

Half-underground.

scenes 76-86 were shot over two days, beneath the Earls Court Exhibition Centre in south-west London (Howard Crane, 1936). Buckingham and Catesby have now adopted the uniform of Richard's guards. This followed from Shakespeare's clue that Richard liked dressing-up and was interested in clothes - 'a score or two of tailors' (scene 26) and from the oddest stage direction in Shakespeare: 'Enter Richard and Buckingham in rotten armour, marvellous ill-favoured'(3.5). This sounds like an opinion rather than a description; but it indicates that they are in startling new clothes. From this, Richard Eyre and Bob Crowley supposed they might be in uniform.

SCENE 77 

INT. CORRIDOR - BENEATH ARENA - NIGHT

RICHARD and BUCKINGHAM, followed by RATCLIFFE and TYRELL, stride along the underground corridors, lined with cladded pipes. Above them, a great crowd is assembling in the Arena.

BUCKINGHAM tells a long-winded story.

RICHARD 

Touched you the bastardy of Edward's children?

BUCKINGHAM 

I did.

As BUCKINGHAM continues, RICHARD gets more tense.

BUCKINGHAM
(continuing)

The insatiate greediness of his desires. 
His tyranny for trifles. His own bastardy. 
Your discipline in war, wisdom in peace, 
Your bounty, virtue, fair humility. 
And, when my oratory drew to an end, 
I bade those who did love their country's good, 
Cry 'God Save King Richard, England's royal King!'

RICHARD 

And did they so?

BUCKINGHAM 

No. So God help me, they spoke not a word.

 

scene 77. Richard is impatient for news. Buckingham has failed so far with the City fathers but he has a plan for his client. He does not want Richard waggling his hand at the Lord Mayor, as he had done in scene 71.

The sounds of a great crowd gathering overhead was RL's invention and developed cinematically the impression of a political rally which closed Part One of the RNT production.

SCEME 78 

INT. RECEPTION ROOM - BENEATH ARENA - NIGHT

The decor is pure art deco. This is the star's reception room. At the other end of the deep carpet is the door to the private dressing-room.

RATCLIFFE opens the door into the reception room, where CATESBY is waiting for RICHARD and BUCKINGHAM.

RICHARD is fuming as he enters.

RICHARD

What tongueless blocks are they! Would they not speak?

A MAKE-UP ARTIST quickly puts down her sherry glass and the HAIRDRESSER looks up from a lurid romance novel.

RATCLIFFE closes the door, remaining on guard with TYRELL in the corridor outside.

CATESBY

The Lord Mayor and his colleagues have arrived.

This stops RICHARD in his tracks.

BUCKINGHAM 

Pretend some fear!

Before RICHARD can respond to this astonishing request, BUCKINGHAM has bundled him through into the dressing-room.

CATESBY indicates that the MAKE-UP ARTIST and HAIRDRESSER should stay put in the reception room and then follows RICHARD and BUCKINGHAM and closes the door.

SCENE 79 

INT. DRESSING-ROOM - BENEATH ARENA - NIGHT

Another stylish room, with every comfort for the visiting celebrity. Sofas and side-tables with nibbles, drinks, newspapers and massive floral displays. RICHARD paces dangerously.

BUCKINGHAM

And, look you, get a prayerbook in your hand. 
Be not easily won by our requests. 
Play the maid's part - still answer 'No' and take it!

RICHARD likes the idea. CATESBY takes in the plan.

BUCKINGHAM 

Ratcliffe!

RICHARD 

No doubt we will bring it to a happy issue.

BUCKINGHAM 

You shall see what I can do.

CATESBY opens the door and lets in the MAKE-UP ARTIST and HAIRDRESSER. BUCKINGHAM leaves with CATESBY, to meet the LORD MAYOR who RATCLIFFE has admitted to the reception room. The MAKE-UP ARTIST begins to give RICHARD the beautification treatment.

'Play the maid's part - still answer "No" and take it!' With this misogynistic joke Buckingham persuades Richard, for the first time in his life, to do what he is told. 'High-reaching Buckingham' is flying and Richard is looking forward to his own contribution. They are a great team.

SCENE 80 

INT. RECEPTION ROOM - BENEATH ARENA - NIGHT

The LORD MAYOR has persuaded a dozen distinguished- looking BANKERS and CIVIC LEADERS from the Council House to meet RICHARD. They are men of the world, somewhat reluctantly here. They will take some convincing. We recognise LORD STANLEY, RICHMOND and the ARCHBISHOP. RATCLIFFE, checking everyone is present, retires to the corridor. The charade begins.

CATESBY
(politely but firmly)

He does entreat you, my Lord Buckingham, 
To visit him tomorrow, or next day. 
He is within, with two right reverend priests.

BUCKINGHAM 

Tell him, myself, the Mayor, and these gentlemen 
Are come to have some conference with him.

CATESBY 
(doubtfully) 

I'll tell him what you say, my Lord.

CATESBY knocks and goes into the dressing-room, smartly, so no-one can see inside.

BUCKINGHAM 

Ah ha. Lord Mayor. Richard is not King Edward.
He is not lulling on a lewd love-bed, 
But meditating with two deep divines . . .

scene 80. The underground room at Earls Court had no atmosphere until the art department added its wall panels (9 feet x 4 feet) each with a legend from the play e.g.: 'This Noble Isle', 'Glorious Summer', over an appropriate poster to encourage the nation's shipbuilding and harvesting.

This transformation reminded me of recently visiting a Hollywood office which had once been a film studio. In the inner courtyard there were still wooden staircases leading up to the old dressing-rooms. One of these had been used by Humphrey Bogart. It was where Casablanca had been filmed. I rushed down the steps and peered through the window of the doors into the cellar that some fifty years before had been Rick's Cafe. All I could see was a characterless space filled with piles of discarded paperwork, detritus of the electronic revolution. The door was locked and there was no point in asking for the key.

SCENE 81 

INT. DRESSING-ROOM - BENEATH ARENA - NIGHT

A dab of powder completes the make-up. Brylcreem is applied.

BUCKINGHAM
(continuing V.O.)

. . . and praying, to enrich his watchful soul. 
Happy were England, would this virtuous man, 
Take on his Grace the sovereignty thereof.

scene 81. Ratcliffe is left inside the dressing-room with the make-up and hair artists, so that he could remain innocent of Richard's deceitfulness.
SCENE 82 

INT. RECEPTION ROOM - BENEATH ARENA - NIGHT

LORD MAYOR 

God defend Richard should say 'No' to us.

BUCKINGHAM 

I fear he will.

CATESBY returns.

BUCKINGHAM
(continuing) 

Catesby?

CATESBY

He wonders to what end you have assembled 
Such troops of citizens to speak with him. 
My Lord, he fears you mean no good to him.

BUCKINGHAM 

By Heaven, we come to him in perfect love.

A couple of them seem to agree with that.

SCENE 83 DELETED
SCENE 84 

INT. RECEPTION ROOM - BENEATH ARENA - NIGHT

BUCKINGHAM opens the door to the dressing-room a crack and calls to RICHARD.

BUCKINGHAM 

My Lord Protector, pray pardon us The interruption of your devotions.

RICHARD enters modestly, prayer-book in hand. The room falls expectantly silent.

BUCKINGHAM acts relieved but apprehensive.

RICHARD

My Lord, there needs no such apology. 
I do suspect I have done some offence.

BUCKINGHAM

You have! Will it please you to amend your fault?

RICHARD 

Else wherefore breathe I in a Christian land?

BUCKINGHAM

Know then, it is your fault that you refuse 
The supreme seat, the throne majestical. 
We heartily solicit you take on
The kingly government of this your land, 
Not as Lord Protector, but from blood to blood - 
Your right of birth, your empery, your own.

RICHARD

Your love deserves my thanks; but my desert, 
Unmeritable, shuns your high request.

Disappointment.

RICHARD
(continuing)

First, if all obstacles were cut away, 
Yet, so much is my poverty of spirit, 
So mighty and so many my defects
That I would rather hide me from my
greatness.
But, God be thanked, there is no need of me. 
The royal tree has left us royal fruit -

BUCKINGHAM 
(interrupting)

- You say the Prince of Wales is your brother's son?

RICHARD nods.

BUCKINGHAM 
(continuing)

So say we too - but born before his wedding day!

RICHARD looks appalled at this slander.

BUCKINGHAM
(continuing)

Then, good my Lord, take to your royal self 
This proffered benefit of dignity.

LORD MAYOR 

0, good my Lord Protector . . . !

CITY GENTLEMAN 

We entreat you. 
Refuse not, Gloucester, this proffered love!

scene 84. In my first draft, I had adopted Shakespeare's outdoor setting.

EXT. INNER COURTYARD OF THE PALACE - NIGHT

A wintry scene - a sprinkling of snow on the cobblestones. Gaslamps throw pools of soft, yellow light below an impressive balcony of granite.

A group of up to a hundred ALDERMEN, in winter coats, hats, gloves and scarves, are tentatively gathering, quietly and expectantly chatting to each other. In the shadows, beneath the arches surrounding the courtyard, Richard's troops, in black, silently assemble.

The balcony is dazzlingly lit by floodlights. Two priests and a Commander-in-Chief at prayer.

Olivier's film did something similar, providing himself with the startling slide down the rope, which sets all the bells of London clanging with acclamation. Within our modernised setting, RL contained the scene within less theatrical confines. Having the city deputation close-to, I was under pressure to be a really convincing liar. I slipped on Richard's reading glasses, which had my prescription in period frames, to suggest a placid bookworm, despite the black uniform.

'Not as Lord Protector, but from blood to blood -' Richard will never have an heir to whom he could pass on the throne. Kristin Scott Thomas and I agreed that Lady Anne and Richard did not have sex after their first unsuccessful attempt - onscreen!

'First, if all obstacles were cut away . . .' Richard allows himself his little private joke, which the audience can share because they have seen Clarence and Rivers both cut away. The line is phrased comically - the long sound of 'were' gives Richard time to think how he can best put it; a half-pause that leads to the ironic euphemism of 'cut away'.

ARCHBISHOP 
(sotto voce to LORD STANLEY)

Truly, the hearts of men are full of fear.

RICHARD 

I am unfit for state and majesty.

BUCKINGHAM 

Then we will plant some other on the throne!

RICHARD

I do beseech you take it not amiss. 
I cannot, nor I will not, yield to you!

BUCKINGHAM
(making to leave)

Your brother's son will never reign our king! 
Gentlemen, come! I will entreat no more. 
God's wounds!

RICHARD 

0, do not swear, my lord of Buckingham!

The CITY GENTLEMEN look as if they will leave with BUCKINGHAM.

CATESBY 

Call him again, My Lord, Accept the crown.

RICHARD

Will you enforce me to a world of cares? 
Call him again.

CATESBY goes toward BUCKINGHAM who turns back.

'Truly, the hearts of men are full of fear.' This line is transposed from a scene in the play (2.3) where three citizens, on their way to a council meeting, discuss the recent death of King Edward and the impending doom of Richard's Lord Protectorship.

Roger Hammond plays the Archbishop. He and I were both born and bred in the north of England. We met in 1958 at Cambridge University, acting together with undergraduate dramatic societies. As professionals, we have both been beneficiaries of the influence that Cambridge graduates had on British Theatre in the Sixties and Seventies, through the actors, directors, managers and drama critics who shared the same academic training and cultural assumptions.

e.g.: my first Shakespeare, Richard  2, was directed by Richard Cottrell (Cambridge 1957-60) and produced by Toby Robertson (1950-2). My first season for the RSC was directed by Trevor Nunn (1959-61) and John Barton (who, when a postgraduate at Cambridge, had directed Roger, me, David Frost, Derek Jacobi, Terrence Hardiman, Richard Cottrell and John Tydeman, a future head of Drama for BBC Radio). For the RNT, I played Coriolanus for Peter Hall (1954-7) and Richard III for Richard Eyre (1962-65).

 

RICHARD
(continuing) 

I am not made of stone. 
Since you will buckle fortune on my back, 
I must have patience to endure the load.

The CITY GENTLEMEN are pleased at their powers of persuasion.

RICHARD
(continuing)

But God doth know, and you may partly see, 
How far I am from the desire of this.

RICHARD walks out, accompanied by BUCKINGHAM.

'I am not made of stone.' Just as onstage an actor's attention is balanced between relating to the other actors and being aware of the audience's reaction, when filming you are never exclusively concentrating on the action, unless the camera is so far away that it can be ignored. At this point, finding myself close to the lens, as if it were another player in the scene, it seemed appropriate to treat it as a participant and address this line directly.

'Since you will buckle fortune on my back . . .' is a sly reference to his deformed spine, as Richard plays the sympathy card.

Perhaps for the first time, Buckingham has discovered excitement in his life. His mistake is to think that he will ever again be able to control an ego the size of Richard's.

SCENE 85 

INT. CORRIDOR - BENEATH ARENA - NIGHT

CATESBY ushers the GENTLEMEN out through the door, as RICHARD acknowledges them in turn.

BUCKINGHAM leads them down the corridor to the Arena above, accompanied by RATCLIFFE and TYRELL.

LORD STANLEY, with RICHMOND and the ARCHBISHOP, follows behind.

RICHARD pauses for a moment, then turns and walks down the opposite corridor.

SCENE 86 

INT. RECEPTION ROOM - BENEATH ARENA - NIGHT

The sound of the amassed CROWD drowns the rumble of the escalators as BUCKINGHAM, RATCLIFFE, TYRELL and the CITY GENTLEMEN make their way up to the Arena above.

LORD STANLEY hesitates behind, with RICHMOND and the ARCHBISHOP.

ARCHBISHOP

If you will outstrip death, go cross the seas 
And live, dear Richmond, from the reach of Hell.

LORD STANLEY 

Go, my dear nephew, from this slaughterhouse.

LORD STANLEY and the ARCHBISHOP shake hands with RICHMOND, and alight the escalators. RICHMOND watches them for a moment, then turns and walks back down the corridor.

CATESBY has observed this parting, as he waits to conduct the ARCHBISHOP and LORD STANLEY up to the Arena. The crowd above is sounding increasingly enthusiastic.

SCENE 87 

INT. ARENA - NIGHT

The Arena is packed with thousands of RICHARD'S SUPPORTERS, male and female, young and old, civilian and blackshirts. On the platform, DRUMMERS AND TRUMPETERS are lined behind the CITY GENTLEMEN, all in place. The last to enter are the ARCHBISHOP and LORD STANLEY, looking somewhat appalled at the vast crowd.

On BUCKINGHAM'S entrance onstage, the place erupts. He approaches the podium, bristling with microphones.

BUCKINGHAM 

Long live King Richard!

There is a gasp of delight at this unexpected announcement. The trumpets sound the percussive martial music which RICHARD played to himself in his office.

The mighty arc-lights swing across the heads of the crowd, signifying that the Lord Protector has arrived in the auditorium. As RICHARD slowly marches onstage, from up-centre, the entire audience rises and cheers and waves. A CHILD breaks ranks and throws RICHARD a posy of flowers. Film cameras whirr. Flaming torches are lit.

EVERYONE 

Amen! Amen! Amen! Amen! Amen!

As RICHARD reaches the podium, the orgiastic climax surpasses itself.

RICHARD acknowledges his subjects with a dazzling smile and as he raises his good arm in greeting, behind him his new flag unfurls - red, white and black. RICHARD is happy for the last time in his life.

scene 87.

A press release was broadcast on local radio: 'Anyone over 16 who is interested in helping with the crucial scene where Richard accepts the title of King of England should present themselves at 3.00pm on Monday 31 July, at Hall no. 2, The Royal Horticultural Hall, Greycoat Street, London SWI.

'You should wear a dark-coloured jacket or shirt or T-shirt and be prepared to spend 3 hours filming. You need never have acted but because of the film's historical period you should be light-skinned.

'There is no payment.'

Two hundred people responded and were grouped in a corner of the art deco Hall. They included my sister Jean, who is a keen amateur actor and director (one of her earliest performances at Wigan High School for Girls was as Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream) and her husband Foster, as well as my friends, neighbours and Liam, the manager of my local bar. Kristin Scott Thomas and I were there too, with others from the crew. We waved our banners, shouted and saluted. Then we were moved in changed formations around the Hall to be filmed again. The varying shots were electronically re-assembled so that we seemed to fill the Hall which, by further trick photography, was expanded to three times its actual length.

Our repeated chant of'Amen!' (3.7) was changed in the final cut to 'Richard!' Onstage, I had acknowledged my subjects with a full-arm salute but in the film did not want to specifically identify Richard with fascism.

SCENES 88-99

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