chapter  1
Against the grain: Shakespeare and the problem of character
Pages 45

I The biased perspective of the actor Ralph Bashford, playing the nurse and in turn played by Jim Carter, in Shakespeare in Love is familiar to us all as an exaggerated representation of the stereotypical self-absorption of the actor. Harriet Walter tells her own versions of this anecdote as a preface to her essay in Players of Shakespeare 3.4 This time, the story is based on both an actor playing the doctor in King Lear and a scene in François Truffaut’s film Day for Night,5 in which successive members of the cast are interviewed by a journalist, each claiming their role as central to the story. Walter goes on from this to claim a grain of truth within the comic hyperbole:

From the moment we are invited to play a part, a mental process gets underway, intended to bridge the gap between me and her/him.