Keywords: celebrity, Shakespearean actor, British heritage, intermediality.
In two show biz biopics, My Week with Marilyn (2011) and Burton and
Taylor (2013) – the first one produced for cinemas and the second for television screens – a (male) British actor is shown struggling with a(female) American celebrity in order to define his artistic identity. Both films stage the confrontation between the chosen couple of star-performers (Sir Laurence Olivier/ Marilyn Monroe and Richard Burton/ Elizabeth Taylor) as a troubled one since the protagonists come to be entangled in a love/hate relationship which is articulated through several oppositions: theatrical actor vs cinema star, London vs Hollywood, fame vs celebrity. Even though the scripts of both films are claimed to be mainly based on real episodes that are reported in acknowledged biographical books, they are also interspersed with a series of Shakespearean quotes that come to form a sophisticated and coherent subtext addressing issues of intermedial and intercultural identity.