Ian McKellen Official Home Page

 Screenplay by Ian McKellen and Richard Loncraine

Scenes 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 31, 32, 34 



RICHARD flings open the door of the stately lavatory and makes for the WC cubicle, past the ornate, carved mirrors above the deep washstands, with their gold taps and luxurious selection of towels, brushes, soaps and lotions. In the distance, the DANCE BAND plays 'A Delightful Measure'.

scene 17 is set in an ante-room at Strawberry Hill House, refurnished with plastic urinals and washbasin - a private place where Richard could look at himself in a mirror. My first idea had been to see Richard alone, talking in front of a three- sided mirror in his bedroom. My second had him leaving the Ball via the Palace Mews, where Ratcliffe was waiting to drive him to The Tower and where he first spies Tyrell, the stable-lad, grooming Richard's beloved horses. My third, if the Ball were onboard the royal yacht, put Richard in the most private of places, the loo of the royal retiring accommodation.


. . . capers nimbly in a lady's chamber,
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass,
I, that am rudely stamped -
Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me, as I halt by them:

'To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.' The repeated L's trip off the tongue, as the speech turns from rhetoric to a confessional tone. We have just seen King Edward capering nimbly on the dance-floor.

At the RNT, this opening speech was spoken directly to the audience to intensify their identification with the speaker; a powerful asset which Shakespeare generally reserves for his leading characters. In the play, there is an effective group of adjacent monologues from Buckingham (4.2), Tyrell (4.3) and Queen Margaret (4.4). In the film the device is reserved for Richard. Without it, the audience might find it hard to engage sympathetically with a man so bent on ill-doings. Similarly the troubled and troublesome inner natures oflago, Leontes and Macbeth are revealed in their soliloquies.

In the theatre, audiences welcome a character who steps out of the action of the drama to address them, whether in Shakespeare, a pantomime or a musical. On the television screen, talking heads are so familiar that a Shakespeare soliloquy works well. The rule of traditional film-making is that actors should never look at the camera - a convention which is riskier to break through than the fourth wall of a proscenium stage.

I never doubted that I should challenge the naturalism of cinema by talking to the camera.


RICHARD pulls the chain and emerges to wash his hand.


Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time,
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun,
And descant on my own deformity.

RICHARD looks in the mirror at his blasted, sagging, left profile, the Brylcreemed hair smooth over his alopeciaed dome. He dries his right hand . . .

(continuing; his lips scarcely move as he
addresses both himself and the CAMERA
through the mirror)

Why, I can smile; and murder while I smile;
And wet my cheeks with artificial tears
And frame my face to all occasions!
And, therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
I am determined to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Plots have I laid . . .
'Why, I can smile; and murder while I smile;
And wet my cheeks with artificial tears
And frame my face to all occasions!'

I included these lines from Richard of Gloucester's speech in Henry VI part 3 (3.2). Olivier's screenplay plundered more. Richard is not a cry-baby but he will weep twice in the film - by design with Lady Anne and for real after his nightmare on the eve of battle.

'I cannot prove a lover . . .' Richard's wooing of Lady Anne in scene 23 may seem to contradict this confession. I preferred to take it literally - that Richard has had little success with sex, because he doubts anyone could find him physically attractive and has devoted himself exclusively to his career as a full-time soldier.

'hate the idle pleasures of these days.' Richard allies himself with other military malcontents, like Don John in Much Ado About Nothing who takes revenge on society for his bastardy just as Richard does for his deformity.



As RICHARD returns to the celebrations he looks down from the cast-iron walkway that leads back to the ballroom.

(continuing to CAMERA)

To set my brothers, Clarence and the King,
In deadly hate, the one against the other.




Far below on the stone steps of the Thames Embankment RICHARD spies his brother CLARENCE, with BRACKENBURY and ESCORT, as he is led down to a waiting launch.

scene 19. This pier-head is just across the road from the palace of the Archbishop of Canterbury in Lambeth, south London. In the distance are the Houses of Parliament, one of the few London landmarks glimpsed in the film. The structure of the pier was a little decorated with Gothic shapes.

Although the River Police had given their permission, one of their boats sped across as we filmed, to complain that our arc-lights might dazzle the navigators of the tourist boats and the occasional barge collecting waste upstream. Fortunately there was little river traffic that night and we didn't have to wait long for it to pass.



RICHARD watches, turns and walks away.



RICHARD emerges from the dark tunnel that leads to the Palace landing stage.

(continuing; calling over to CLARENCE)

Brother! What means this armed guard?

RICHARD hurries to CLARENCE down the slippery stone steps.


His Majesty,
Tendering my person's safety, has appointed
This conduct, to convey me to the Tower.


But what is the matter, Clarence, may I know?


Yes, Richard, when I know; but I protest As yet, I do not.


Why this it is, when men are ruled by women!
It's not the King that sends you to the Tower.
Elizabeth the Queen, Clarence, it's she.
We are not safe, brother. We are not safe.


I beseech your Lordships both to pardon me.
His Majesty has strictly given me charge
That no man shall have private conference -
Of what degree so-ever - with your brother.

BRACKENBURY invites CLARENCE on board the military police launch moored in the river.


We speak no treason, Brackenbury. We say the King
Is wise and virtuous and his Queen -
Well-struck in years.

(refusing to be amused)

I do beseech you both to pardon me.


We know your charge, Brackenbury, and will obey.

scene 21. The standard practice is to shoot a scene from a number of angles. A 'master-shot' showing all the action can then be inter-cut with closer shots of the speakers. This scene, however, was filmed from just one angle.

RL often opted for a single set-up which continues throughout a scene, because it gives the actors a chance to control the pace and the changing moods. Anyway, he wasn't given enough time in the ten-week shooting schedule for the luxury of a number of set-ups. He kept in his head the way the film would eventually be cut together and only shot what was necessary; a discipline he has perfected in his filming of commercials. Of the 500 set-ups in Richard III, the editor, Paul Green, had to discard only eight.

Each new set-up involves re-lighting. I'm often resentful of the time permitted for the essential preparation of camera positioning and lighting the set and faces. That done, the actors seem to be expected to get it right without delay whilst producers look at their watches and frown. But I could never have resented the wait while Peter Biziou dextrously painted the air with light. By walkie-talkie or whispers or sign language, he communicated with his chief gaffer, Peter Bloor, and the assistant electricians who lugged, stabilised and plugged-in for action the lamps behind the camera. From the day we met at my make-up test, Peter was encouraging: initially because he agreed to take the job - he is in great demand - and to the end, because he enthused about performances and direction and about his own satisfaction in being involved.

(hugging CLARENCE)

We are the Queen's subjects, and must obey.
Brother, farewell. I will unto the King.
Meanwhile, this deep disgrace in brotherhood
Touches me deeper than you can imagine.


I know it pleases neither of us well.


Well, your imprisonment shall not be long.
I will deliver you, or else lie for you.
Meantime have patience.

CLARENCE ironically holds up his handcuffs.


I must perforce. Farewell.

RICHARD looks down from the quay and takes out a large, white handkerchief, to dry his sniffles. He waves to CLARENCE, as the launch speeds cross-stream, out toward the sinister silhouette of the menacing Tower on the opposite embankment. The moonlight glitters on the grey water.

'Brother, farewell.'

In the play, Clarence has a young son and daughter. In the film, he is a childless bachelor, as simple and plain as his brother Richard is devious. He has withdrawn from the political life of his two brothers and has a job elsewhere, in some world of academics or artists. RL, who collects cameras, decided Clarence should be an amateur photographer, recording his surroundings without noticing what's going on until it is too late. Right up to his death, Clarence is fooled by Richard's bonhomie.

Nigel Hawthorne was a master of irony and British sang-froid, witness the Yes Minister television series (1980-7). As Clarence, he played on the other side of his own personality, warmly and wistfully.


Simple, plain Clarence! I do love you so,
That I shall shortly send your soul to Heaven -
If Heaven will take the present from my hands!
(blowing his nose)
And then, I'll marry . . .
"What though I killed her husband? And his father?

'Simple, plain Clarence.' This scene is full of ironies, as Richard lies his way through. His adrenalin gleefully pumping, he can hardly wait to share his deviousness with the audience. Then off he springs to give the performance of his life, as he woos Lady Anne: from a parody of brotherly love to a parody of courtship.



The messy aftermath of civil conflict. The corridor is crammed with the sick and dying. LADY ANNE is elegant in her mourning black but distraught and scarcely recognised in headscarf and dark glasses, as she glides through the crush.

WIDOWS and fatherless FAMILIES wait for confirmation of their menfolk's deaths. The SICK AND WOUNDED overflow from the adjacent wards. LADY ANNE pushes open the double swing-doors to the mortuary.

scene 22. At the RNT, Bob Crowley's hanging line of overhead lamp-shades indicated a mortuary corridor, with three orderlies in charge of the corpse on its hospital trolley. We filmed in the abandoned Pearl Assurance Building (designed by Mokton, 1912) on the edge of the City of London in Holborn. On either side of the corridor in this scene, there are heavy steel doors which can still be opened on to the cell-like safes where securities and valuables were once locked up and guarded.


Through the opaque glass tiles of the ceiling, cathedral-like sunbeams fall onto the tiled walls and marble floor of the underground chamber. Cold and quiet after the confusion outside.

Three white-coated HOSPITAL ORDERLIES are attending to the corpse of PRINCE EDWARD on its marble plinth. His wounds have been sewn up and tidied. Scalpels and other surgical implements are at hand. Prominent is an empty coffin on a gurney.

The shock of her husband's death has now released LADY ANNE's grief and anger. Her mascara has run down her pale make-up. She gestures to the ORDERLIES to leave her alone.

scene 23. A defunct lower-floor storage-room was turned into a basement mortuary by foreshortening the windows with plasterboard and paint. I love the details of film-sets, all ready, if necessary, for a camera close-up. One joke was not filmed. On the long mortuary wall at the back, there were dummy refrigerator doors, labelled with the surnames of Shakespeare's contemporary rivals - Dekker, Greene, Jonson, Kyd, Marlowe, Marston and Massinger.

PRINCE EDWARD. In the play. Lady Anne accompanies her father-in-law's corpse to its burial. In the film, his son is recognisable on the morgue's marble slab. Olivier's film made the same substitution. The war in which the Prince was killed has been over long enough for the new regime to celebrate its victory but his corpse is not yet buried and Lady Anne's grief is still at its height. Shakespeare's time-scale is only confusing when you analyse its inconsistencies.



0, cursed be the hand that made these holes;
Cursed the heart that had the heart to do it;
Cursed the blood that let this blood from hence!
If ever he have child, abortive be it.
If ever he have wife, let her be made
More miserable by the life of him,
Than I am made by my young husband's death.

RICHARD has been watching through the glass panels of the doors. LADY ANNE hears the door open and turns to see RICHARD.

'If ever he have wife . . .' In the background, Richard silently emerges from behind Lady Anne, his future wife, at the moment when she curses herself-to-be.


What black magician conjures up this fiend,
To stop devoted charitable deeds?


Sweet saint, for charity be not so cursed.


Foul devil, for God's sake hence and trouble me not;
For you have made the happy earth my hell.

RICHARD does not move. LADY ANNE, unnerved by his gaze, tries to shame him into a response.


If you delight to see your heinous deed.
Behold this pattern of your butchery.

RICHARD acknowledges the man he has killed.


Lady, you know no rules of charity.


Villain, you know no law of God nor man.


Vouchsafe, divine perfection of a woman, Of this supposed crime to give me leave, By circumstance, but to acquit myself.


Did you not kill my husband?


I grant you, yes.


D'you grant me, hedgehog? Then God grant me, too,
You may be damned for that wicked deed!


Gentle Lady Anne -


0, he was gentle, mild and virtuous.


The fitter for the King of Heaven who has him.


And you unfit for any place but Hell!


Yes, one place else, if you will hear me name it.


Some dungeon.

'black magician . . .' In the play, there are other references to necromancy. Richard bases his slanderous charge against Clarence on the witness of a wizard; he calls Queen Margaret a 'foul wrinkled witch'; he blames his deformity on 'damned witchcraft'. If this is thought to be outlandishly medieval for the 1930s, there have been many modem world leaders in thrall to astrology, from Hitler to Reagan.

'happy earth . . .' Richard notes to himself that Lady Anne's particular happiness lies not just in love but in being married to the late heir-to-the-throne, with the promise of influence and riches as his consort. She does not need to have it explained in words, that a liaison with Richard would lead her back to those privileges: cf. the youthful widow Jackie Kennedy's marriage to Aristotle Onassis.

In the foreground of this establishing shot of the mortuary as Lady Anne walks in, there are two battle-torn extras, genuine amputees. In an early draft, the wooing was set over the King's corpse as it lay in state, next to the new mausoleum to his son, Lady Anne's husband.

On the page, it seems incredible that Lady Anne would ever succumb to her husband's killer. In performance, the scene (1.2) is invariably convincing. Lady Anne's emotional juices are in full flood, as her grief and anger turn to curiosity and the need to be involved with the world once more. She is not out of control and Richard has to work hard to melt away her scathing wit with his sincerity. He plays too on her vanity and declares that his love for her led him to murder the men he should have taken prisoner. He even offers to kill himself, with conviction.


(to himself)

Your bedchamber.

(out loud)

Let's leave this keen encounter of our wits.
Your beauty, that did haunt me in my sleep,
Could make me undertake the death of all
the world,
So I might live one hour in your sweet bosom.


If I thought that, I tell you, homicide,
These nails should rend that beauty from my cheeks!


My eyes could not endure that beauty's wreck.
As all the world is cheered by the sun,
So I by that - it is my day, my life!
He who bereft you, Lady, of your husband,
Did it to help you to a better husband.


His better does not breathe upon the earth.


He lives who loves you better than he could.


Where is he?



'Your bedchamber.' Kristin Scott Thomas did not want to hear this as it would lessen the later shock of Richard's approach which makes her spit. It does not disrupt the flow nor make Richard's sincerity any less convincing, when whispered in confidence to the camera - one of the very few brief 'asides' other than the full- length monologues. Richard likes an audience to appreciate his ingenuity. In the play, the wooing is silently witnessed by Tressel and Berkeley and by the undertakers who attend to the corpse.

'These nails should rend that beauty from my cheeks!' Lady Anne accepts that she is beautiful - at least, she does not deny it. Even as she lambasts him, she is susceptible to Richard's flattery.

'He who bereft you. Lady, of your husband . . .' The audacity of the soothing euphemism and the mocking repetition of 'husband' always made theatre audiences laugh.

LADY ANNE spits full in RICHARD'S face. He glares murderously back at her. She recoils from his anger. But this is not the first time that the deformed RICHARD has been openly despised. She cannot bring herself to apologise or, quite, to feel sorry for his half-pathetic expression.

As they stare each other out, a young, helpless widow and the man old enough to be her protective father, there is a sexual alarm in the space between them.
At last, RICHARD wipes his face dry, with his white handkerchief.

(continuing; softly, almost forgiving)

Why do you spit at me?

(recovering her self-control)

Would it were mortal poison, for your sake.


Never came poison from so sweet a place.


Never hung poison on a fouler toad.
Out of my sight! You do infect my eyes.

LADY ANNE spits. This is a point of no return.
However satisfying it may be to spit contempt at her enemy, she is shocked by her own vulgarity and is silent while Richard weeps and tells his tale. He makes no complaint. The thrill of this slow-motion chase is that the stoat never underestimates the rabbit and takes no chances. Richard's energy, as befits an active soldier, flows through each moment as if it were a matter of his life and death.

As they stare each other out. In the screenplay, particularly in this final version, I was encouraged to fill out the moments between the dialogue with some indication as to the passionate inner lives of the characters, so that their stories would be clear to those readers who were more used to scripts which are not by Shakespeare and in which action and explosions sound louder than words. I do not like inhibiting and restricting notes on acting from playwrights when they are written into their scripts as stage directions: but this screenplay is not intended to be an acting script.

(he is crying now)

Those eyes of yours from mine have drawn salt tears.
But when I heard the story of my father's death
And all the standers-by had wet their cheeks,
Like trees bedashed with rain, in that sad time,
My manly eyes did scorn a humble tear:
And what that sorrow could not thence exhale,
Your beauty has and made them blind with weeping.
Teach not your lip such scorn, for it was made
For kissing. Lady, not for such contempt.

LADY ANNE is moved by this confession and RICHARD risks offering to kiss her. But no: LADY ANNE turns away.

'blind with weeping.' cf. 'I can . . . wet my cheeks with artificial tears' (scene 16). Richard is able to cry convincingly by recalling previous occasions when he has been hurt by revulsion from his appearance.

To dry my eyes, I used the same white handkerchief which waved-off Clarence to The Tower (scene 21).


If your revengeful heart cannot forgive,
I humbly beg for death, upon my knee.

RICHARD takes the nearest, sharpest scalpel and hands it to LADY ANNE.


No, do not pause - it was I who killed your husband;
But it was your heavenly face that set me on.

LADY ANNE almost dares to stab him but she is too confused. Why is her enemy so attractive? She drops the scalpel and it clatters onto the floor.


Take up the blade again - or take up me.

RICHARD offers the blade to LADY ANNE but she will not take it from him.


I will not be your executioner.


Then, bid me kill myself and I will do it.


I have already.


That was in your rage. Speak it again.


I would I knew your heart.

'I humbly beg for death, upon my knee.' Richard inspires himself by playing the fantasy role of romantic lover. In the mirror he has razored a moustache of screen heroes like Clark Gable, Clifton Webb, David Niven, Douglas Fairbanks. When his declaration of love is rejected, Don Juan kneels to be punished, kneels to commit hari-kari at the executioner's block and simultaneously kneels to ask for her hand in marriage. Not all women would fall for it and, watching the film, I can never quite catch the moment when Lady Anne is won over. She never quite remembers herself (scene 73).

'No, do not pause -' 'Nay' Shakespeare wrote and as in the north of England we still use the word, I had to be convinced, mainly by myself, that there should be no irksome hooks on which audiences could hang their impatience with a text they found initially difficult to understand. All the 'thou's and 'thee's of my childhood have gone too. Shakespeare makes no distinction between 'thou' and 'you' that I can tell.

Kristin Scott Thomas as Lady Anne was much more than another name to boast
of on the marquee. Acting with her was always instructive. Our analysis of this scene in rehearsal was inconclusive - RL uncertain whether Lady Anne's submission could be believable; I convinced that it could; and Kristin listening, head on one side, and grimacing wryly that perhaps a woman knew best. In front of the camera she embodied the character's emotions with an intensity that reminded me of Meryl Streep's enviable ability to forget herself as soon as the camera turns. Kristin's special quality onscreen is to encapsulate and minimise her naturally volatile expression of personality, without losing any of its variety. Subtle as she is in close-up, she is equally aware of the effect of her body's silhouette in long-shot as in scene 44.

RICHARD places the blade to his throat. A drop of blood trickles from the glistening blade.


I fear that it is false.


Then never was man true.


Well, well, put down the blade.


But shall I live in hope?


All men I hope live so ...

At that ambiguous half-promise, RICHARD lets drop the scalpel. He slowly lifts his right hand to his mouth and, with his teeth, pulls off his family signet-ring.

RICHARD places the blade to his throat. Richard uses a handy scalpel. In the play (1.2) he lays his 'true breast naked to the deadly stroke' of his sword. This would indicate that Shakespeare was presenting the one and only time when undressing is in order. Onstage, I removed hat, gloves, greatcoat, Sam Browne's trappings, jacket and undid the collarless shirt to give Lady Anne a glimpse of the naked flesh that was so close to the spine's deformity and was hers to explore. As I was nightly aware that this was an actor's trick, mine as much as Richard's, I was almost relieved when RL didn't want me to repeat it in the film.


Vouchsafe to wear this ring.

RICHARD slides the ring, wet with saliva, onto her engagement finger.


To take is not to give.


May I, with all expedient duty, see you?

LADY ANNE looks at the contrite RICHARD. Her grief has turned to open fascination.


And much it joys me too,
To see you are become so penitent.

(as he leaves)

Bid me farewell.


'Tis no more than you deserve;
But since you teach me how to flatter you,
Imagine I have said farewell already.

RICHARD turns and walks out into the corridor.

'Vouchsafe to wear this ring.' Richard performs a crude marriage ceremony between beauty and the beast. Lady Anne can have few illusions that he will turn into a prince to rival her first husband. In the play, there is no direct reference to the marriage until Richard and Anne become King and Queen. She only re- appears to meet the other royal women immediately before the Coronation (4.1). She is overwhelmed by sadness and is impervious to other feelings by then. She has even smaller joy than her predecessor in 'being this country's queen'. She is childless although the historical Anne had a son who died aged ten.

Despite considerable cutting of lines throughout this scene, each step in Richard's seduction remains. In the film, Lady Anne appears in nine more scenes than in the play - most of them silently. This prepares for her heart-breaking confession, which is divided between scenes 73 and 93. It also steadily charts Richard's inadequacy as a husband. In marriage, he behaves as callously as he does elsewhere.




RICHARD pauses outside the double-doors to the mortuary.

(to himself)

Was ever woman in this humour wooed?


Was ever woman in this humour won?

scene 24. Onstage, having undressed enough to show Lady Anne my chest, I put everything back on as quickly as I could, single-handed, meanwhile talking to the audience. Then I marched off to a score or two of tailors. All that survives of this cheeky theatricality is the final wriggling-on of his leather glove, as Richard solemnly climbs the stairs from the mortuary.


RICHARD starts up the stairs.

(continuing, to CAMERA)

I'll have her. But I will not keep her long.
What? I, who killed her husband and his father,
To take her in her heart's extremest hate,
With curses in her mouth, tears in her eyes,
And yet to win her - all the world to nothing. Ha!

RICHARD pauses, then strides down the corridor.

scene 25. This celebratory soliloquy of triumph is properly outrageous and breaks through the convention of naturalism as effortlessly as a song in a musical. Richard, who will never be so carefree again, dares to speak his mind and boast even within hearing of hospital patients, staff and visitors, all of whom are too preoccupied to notice him dancing through.





Upon my life she finds, although I cannot,
Myself to be a marvellous proper man.
I'll entertain some score or two of tailors
To study fashions to adorn my body.
Shine out, fair sun, till I have bought a glass,
That I may see my shadow as I pass.

Immaculate once more, RICHARD strides out. The sun throws his shadow back onto the marble floor.

'I'll entertain some score or two of tailors . . .' Forty tailors indeed! In an interim screenplay, I unnecessarily illustrated these words with a visit to a tailor's shop, where Richard was measured and fitted for his new civilian wardrobe. On his way out, he ripped a war veteran begging in Savile Row.

'Shine out, fair sun . . .' The end of the scene is marked with the flourish of a rhyming couplet. It sent me prancing up the curving stairs. On the take used in the film, I spontaneously paused at the top, for another full-stop to the scene, a clenched fist flung in the air before leaving round the comer.



Heavy early Victorian decor.

KING EDWARD is at his desk, his well-worn face the victim of asthma, blood-pressure and general over- indulgence.

QUEEN ELIZABETH is leaning over his shoulder approvingly as he signs an official paper. CATESBY has prepared the sealing wax for the Royal Seal.

KING EDWARD hands CATESBY the completed missive. QUEEN ELIZABETH smiles with relief that CLARENCE'S Royal Pardon is on its way.

As CATESBY leaves with a bow, KING EDWARD starts a serious cough. CATESBY turns, very worried, and QUEEN ELIZABETH tries to help her husband. CATESBY rings the bell for further assistance. The NURSE rushes in to attend her patient.

scene 27. In the dubbing studio was added 'Catesby!' from Queen Elizabeth, her
first word in the film. It introduces the King's permanent private secretary, which was how he was played at the RNT. Tim Mclnnerny gives a convincing inner life to the sour looks and gliding gait of a senior representative of the Civil Service.

KING EDWARD. John Wood's career began supporting the young Richard Burton in three Shakespeare seasons at the Old Vic. He has played Richard III twice, first as an undergraduate at Oxford (1953) and then for the RNT (1979). For a time, he was indispensible to any new Tom Stoppard play. We played together in Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, Stoppard's collaboration with Andre Previn. On Broadway, John had already triumphed as Guildenstern and in Travesties. After Richard III, his next film (and mine) was Rasputin (HBO).

CLARENCE'S Royal Pardon. Later, King Edward will refer to this order in
scene 47. Under Richard's influence, he had issued an earlier order that Clarence should be executed. In this scene he issues a pardon. Scene 29 follows silently on, as Richard reads and destroys the countermand.



QUEEN ELIZABETH'S taste is reflected in every knick- knack and pattern of the newly furnished apartments. A clock strikes 10 and then tick-tocks. Breakfast is served in the conservatory leading onto the Palace gardens. The summer morning sunlight filters through the trees outside.

QUEEN ELIZABETH is déshabillé, a champagne-glass in her manicured, be-ringed hand.

RIVERS is brunching on orange juice, black coffee and Danish.

At his own small table, the well-behaved PRINCE JAMES is absorbed with a boiled egg and toast-soldiers. The adults speak low, so as not to distract him.


The King is sickly, weak and melancholy.

(joining her at the window)

Have patience. Sister.
There's no doubt His Majesty
Will soon recover his accustomed health.


But his physicians fear him mightily.
If he were dead, what would become of me?


The heavens have blessed you with two goodly sons,
To be your comforters when he is gone.

scene 28. The undercroft of the chapel in Lincoln's Inn Fields, where lawyers train and work, has vaulted arches that are open to the air. These were glazed, creating a unique royal breakfast-room, furnished by the new Queen Elizabeth with gold-fish tank, chintz and a family atmosphere.

All Annette Bening's scenes were shot together within three weeks at the beginning of the schedule. Warren Beatty boosted all our spirits when he came to visit her on the set for this scene. Ten years before, he had troubled to call RL, whom he had never met, to congratulate him on his direction of The Missionary. When we needed to break all the Hollywood etiquette rules of agents, managements and personal representatives by contacting Annette quickly and directly, RL called the old Beatty number and Warren answered. Mrs Beatty read the script the minute it reached her (another broken rule of some stars - "keep 'em sweating"). She at once agreed to play Queen Elizabeth and I've been grateful and delighted ever since. I know she was glad to return to Shakespeare which she had played during her time at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.

(dropping the bombshell)

0 they are young and their minority
Is put into the trust of Richard Gloucester - 
A man who loves not me, nor you, dear brother.


Is it confirmed he will be Lord Protector?


If the King miscarry . . .

KING EDWARD is at the doorway, helped by PRINCESS ELIZABETH. He belies his illness by his confident manner.


My love, what danger can befall to you
So long as Edward is your constant friend?
And a sovereign, whom Richard must obey?
Yes, whom he shall obey - and love you too.

KING EDWARD and QUEEN ELIZABETH embrace each other.

RIVERS thoughtfully sips his coffee.

PRINCE JAMES dunks another soldier.

'0 they are young . . .' reveals the worried, doting mother in juxtaposition to the carefree hostess who has been seen dancing with her little son on her toes. It is always revealing to spy public figures off-duty.

RIVERS. Before he speaks, spot the clues that Rivers is American. Off the Pan American flight he, in a republican sort of way, drops his gift-wrapped bundles into His Majesty's lap. Here he reads the Wall Street Journal and is dressed up in the cowboys-and-Indians kit he brought for his little nephew. Robert DowneyJr effortlessly conjured up a loose-limbed 30S playboy destined to be an early, rather pathetic victim of Richard's ambition.

I originally thought that an alternative would have been a more worldly wise, over-confident heavyweight like Robert Duvall or Gene Hackman, ready to take on the world by controlling his sister's newly royal destiny. Rivers does not have enough lines for that interpretation to be convincingly developed.

'My love, what danger can befall to you . . . ?'



RATCLIFFE has lit the coal fire, burning merrily in the grate. The little table is laid for English breakfast for two.

RICHARD sits and, as RATCLIFFE pours the coffee, opens a letter with the recognisable Royal Seal that lies next to The Times newspaper.

RICHARD reads, lights a cigarette and impassively burns CLARENCE'S Royal Pardon. He massages comfort into his aching, withered left hand.


Clarence still breathes.
Edward still lives and reigns. When they are gone, then shall I count my gains.

Outside, a DRILL-SERGEANT barks orders to his troops.

scene 29. The Royal Geographical Society's Headquarters, designed by Norman Shaw (1874) is in Kensington - I would have preferred rather less spacious accommodation for the bachelor soldier but sounds of the onscreen barracks' life outside convey the right atmosphere.

RATCLIFFE pours the coffee.
This is the first chance to register Richard's batman, the faithful Ratcliffe, who has been with his boss through thick and thin. Another soldier to whom the army has been everything. It is a totally professional relationship and he is never an accomplice to Richard's malevolence. So, Ratcliffe does not witness here the destruction of the royal pardon which was intended to release Clarence from The Tower.



RICHARD and RATCLIFFE stride briskly past the PLATOON being exercised by the DRILL-SERGEANT, who salutes as the Commander-in-Chief goes by.


scenes 30 and 34 were filmed at Royal Woolwich Arsenal in south-east London which is now abandoned by the Army and houses a collection of books from the British Library. Our budget limited us to hiring only one horse, rather than thirty! And so scene 32 was deleted.


30 unharnessed HORSES are being exercised by their GROOMS, trotting and walking round the sawdust oval. RICHARD seems to know each of them, man and beast.




There are more immaculately groomed horses in their stalls. RICHARD pets a couple as he strides along. Then he notices CORPORAL JAMES TYRELL preparing feed for the regimental mascot, a huge BOAR. He grinds the mash in a machine and pours it into the pig-trough.


What is his name?


His name is Tyrell, sir.


I partly know the man.

RICHARD joins TYRELL at the BOAR'S pen. He watches the animal scoffing the sticky sludge.


Is your name Tyrell?

scene 34. Richard Ill's heraldic device was the boar, a dangerously unpredictable beast, although our ornamental version seemed happy to crunch all day long on slices of Granny Smith.



James Tyrell - and your most obedient servant.


Are you indeed?


Prove me, my gracious Lord.

The ever-discreet RATCLIFFE does not hear what RICHARD says next to TYRELL.

'James Tyrell - and your most obedient servant.'
All the actors were constantly encouraging to me about the film and some of them about my performance. Adrian Dunbar went further: between takes he was always ready to discuss our scenes. His most telling insight was that an actor, when filming, does not need, as in the theatre, to end a scene with some definite punctuation, the most obvious and necessary of which is to leave the stage. In film, it is the director who decides how each scene will develop into the next. The actors, even when their dialogue is finished, should always be in some transition of thought or emotion.

'Prove me, my gracious Lord.' I was waiting for RL to call out 'Cut' and for the scene to end, when Adrian passed me the next apple which he had been ready to throw at the boar. With some venom, I chucked it at the animal, whose squeal fortuitously provided RL with his transitional cutting point.

SCENES 35-39