Stage / Theatre

John Simm excited by ‘last chance’ to play Hamlet

BBC News
By Tim Masters
21 December 2009

Simm is best known for his TV work, such as Life on Mars

Simm is best known for his TV work, such as Life on Mars

Actor John Simm has admitted he is daunted by the idea of taking on the role of Hamlet next year, but says it is not an opportunity he can turn down.

The Life on Mars star follows in the footsteps of David Tennant and Jude Law as the latest high profile actor to play the Danish prince.

“It’s terrifying – it’s probably the greatest role ever written for an actor,” Simm told the BBC.

The play will open at the Sheffield Crucible in September 2010.

“I’m really excited about it. When you get asked and you’re 40 years old it’s probably wise to say ‘yes’,” Simm said.

“Because I’m probably not going to be asked again to play Hamlet, so this is the last chance saloon – I’m going to bite that hand off!”

Simm, who finished a West End run in Speaking in Tongues this month, can be seen on TV over Christmas playing The Master in Doctor Who.

‘Totally different’

Tennant's performance was lauded by critics

Tennant's performance was lauded by critics

Former Doctor Who actor Christopher Eccleston played Hamlet in 2002 at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Tennant’s version for the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in 2008/9 was named the event of the year in the Whatsonstage.com Awards.

Jude Law has been playing Hamlet on Broadway following a successful run at London’s Donmar Warehouse.

“I didn’t really think about the fact that David and Jude had done it,” said Simm. “I didn’t see either of them [in Hamlet] because I was working, so that’s probably a good thing. It’ll be a totally different one for sure.”

Simm said Tennant had texted him when his casting was announced two weeks ago.

“I said to David tips would be greatly received. I’m sure I’ll be alright.”

Simm added: “We’re still in meetings talking about how we’re going to do it, we’ve got a couple of ideas. Hopefully it’s going to get cut, and we won’t be doing the four-hour version.”

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