Thursday, September 28th, 2017...4:59 pmtarwatel

Another Teen Shakespeare Movie

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While it’s inflicted upon Shakespeare too frequently- I’m looking at you, “10 Things I Hate About You” and “She’s the Man”- it’s time for Othello to be adapted into a horribly written, cringingly sentimental, and embarrassingly enjoyable guilty-pleasure teen-romantic-comedy. This may seem like an awful idea due to Othello’s subject matter and its rampant racism and sexism; the truth is, it’s absolutely a horrible idea. However, these themes could be transformed, with a distant enough plot, into an entertaining, yet slightly offensive, dramedy.


Othello (Ollie): Jaden Smith

Desdemona (Debbie)-Bella Thorne

Iago (Iggy)-Ansel Elgort

Cassio (Charlie)- Tyler Posey


It’s the summer of 1972 in Alabama, and Ollie and Debbie have returned from their jobs as counsellors at summer camp the week before their first day of sophomore year of high school. At camp, Debbie and Ollie unexpectedly fell in love; however, due to Debbie’s conservative father Brad, Ollie and Debbie hide their affair. The last night of camp, Ollie proposed to Debbie, saying that they “will never forget their love.” To complicate things, Othello is running for class president and chose Charlie over Iggy to be his running mate, despite Iggy’s higher GPA. Once Iggy hears of Ollie’s betrayal, he looks for his revenge. After finding a note from Debbie in Ollie’s backpack, he runs and tells Brad. They drive off to look for her and find Debbie and Ollie hiding in the woods. Brad, due to his ignorance, assumes Debbie is under witchcraft.

Since I’ve only read the first two acts of Othello, I have no idea where this problematic love story will go. However, I do know it will have a happy ending where Brad overcomes his racism and Debbie and Ollie attend prom together.


  •   Professor Seiler
    September 29th, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Lily–this is a fantastic (and funny!) post. Love the idea of the “guilty pleasure teen rom-com.” Do you know about _O_ (2001), the prep school basketball-themed adaptation starring Josh Hartnett, Mekhi Phifer, and she of “10 Things I Hate about You” fame, Julia Stiles?

  •   Rachel Lockwood
    September 29th, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    Hi Lily! Reading this post put a smile on my face. Thank you for shedding comedic light on a play that I think a lot of people (myself included) occasionally take too seriously. It’s a good reminder to be able to admit to parts of literature that might be comically ridiculous.

  • Is there any other particular reason you decided to keep Othello’s name the same, and is there any particular reason you changed the other characters’ names to what you did?

  • Having seen too many awful teen rom coms to count, I support this concept wholeheartedly. Your casting choices and plot ideas are perfect. The detail of “1972 in Alabama” is a great addition, but I think this could work in a modern setting as well, and I wonder how that would change things.

  • I would definitely watch this rom-com secretly and deny ever hearing about it. I’d be interested to see how Iggy could sabotage Ollie through the presidential campaign, i.e. messing with the box of cast ballots, etc.

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