Richard III | The Story

Having written their screenplay of Richard III, Richard Loncraine and Ian McKellen summarized the plot for potential investors and other interested parties.

The Story of RICHARD III

"Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer..."
At the Victory Ball, the charismatic commander-in-chief, Richard Gloucester, celebrates the end of the long-standing Civil War and pays tribute to his eldest brother, Edward, who now reigns as King. The time is the turbulent 1930s and the throne seems secure for generations to come. The victorious King Edward has three young children by his beautiful wife, Queen Elizabeth.

"I can smile and murder while I smile..."
Only Richard is discontented. From birth he has been physically deformed -- a hunch-back, with a useless left arm and a limp. Each time he looks in the mirror, his infirmity stares back at him. As a fighting soldier, he has conquered his disabilities, through determination and good humour. Now Richard turns his ambitions to civilian life, with disastrous results for his family and for the country. He will need all his powers as an actor, a hypocrite and a liar.

"I am determined to prove a villain..."
Richard's secret burning ambition is to become King. First he wants a wife: and, against all odds, he seduces and marries the alluring, young widow Lady Anne, whose husband he had shot in the Civil War. He recruits two allies to his side -- the soldier James Tyrell, who will obey any order to kill; and the greedy Duke of Buckingham, who agrees to mastermind Richard's climb to power.

"Plots have I laid..."
His brother Clarence stands before Richard in line to the throne and, therefore, must be eliminated. The harmless, unsuspecting Clarence is imprisoned in the dreaded Tower, where Tyrell slits his throat. Richard's next victim is Earl Rivers, Queen Elizabeth's American brother, who has flown across the Atlantic, intending to be a power behind the throne. On the unexpected death of King Edward, Rivers becomes too powerful. Tyrell is ordered to kill him.

"I seem a saint, when most I play the devil..."
Outwardly, Richard is upright, charming and modest. Hardly anyone suspects his inner villainous nature. So, although by rights, King Edward's heir, the under-age Prince of Wales, should now inherit the throne, Richard is pronounced Lord Protector of the Prince, who is locked up in the Tower, along with his 7 year old brother.

"Truly, the hearts of men are full of fear..."
With the bold execution of the Prime Minister Hastings, a reign of terror begins. Politicians, financiers and businessmen are encouraged by Buckingham to flock to Richard and, with popular acclaim, the Lord Protector is crowned King Richard 111.

"I am in so far in blood, that sin will pluck on sin..."
The bloodbath continues. The little Princes in the Tower are savagely murdered in their beds and Richard even has his innocent wife, Lady Anne, put to death. Throughout the kingdom, no-one is safe from the tyrant.

"My kingdom stands on brittle glass..."
An opposition party is formed to try and depose Richard 111. Henry Richmond, the young naval officer, is raising a substantial army to invade. This rebel force is welcomed by many of Richard's supporters, most notably by the disenchanted Duke of Buckingham. When Buckingham, his oldest ally, is captured, Richard watches his execution without mercy.

"You came on earth to make the earth my hell..."
A valiant, fighting soldier once more, Richard takes command of his army, as it prepares to meet the foe. But his luck is running out. Only his closest associates remain loyal. Richard fails to persuade Queen Elizabeth that he should marry her young daughter; instead she is promised to Richmond. Even Richard's own mother, the 80 year old Duchess of York, joins his enemies. Since his birth, the old woman has hated and despised her youngest son. Now she wishes that he were dead.

"I shall despair. There is no creature loves me..."
The night before the battle which will decide his fate, Richard dreams of all those he has killed - his enemies, his friends, his brother, nephews and wife. This horrific nightmare challenges his conscience but Richard recovers his old confidence and is ready to stare death in the face.

"A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse..."
The weather is bad; Richard's military vehicles cannot cope and he screams for a horse to carry him into the fray. Richmond's superior forces attack by land and air. Overwhelmed -- but determined to the last -- King Richard 111 defiantly accepts his fate.

"The bloody dog is dead..."

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