Before he was sending Ethan Hunt on impossible missions and before he became the patriarch of the Grayson empire, Henry Czerny started his acting career with Shakespeare.
The Toronto native performed in several Shakespeare productions at the acclaimed Stratford Festival in Ontario early in his career, and he studied at the National Theatre School in Montreal. Mercutio”s Queen Mab speech from Romeo and Juliet was the first piece of Shakespeare”s work he performed in theater school.
Czerny at first believed Mercutio”s musings on the fairies” midwife as he teases his lovesick friend Romeo to be a “foppish play on words,” he said. But when his director at theater school told him to take a closer look at the character Mercutio, “what came through was someone who used their wordplay to hide a deep hurt that he was still grappling with,” Czerny recalled.
He returned to the Queen Mab speech for HitFix”s video series celebrating 400 years of Shakespeare. This Saturday, April 23 marks 400 years since the Bard”s death – his complete works have been influencing the English language and storytelling in countless ways for four centuries now.
Watch Czerny”s reading below.
And then scroll on down to watch our flagship video in this series saluting the Bard, featuring Liev Schreiber, Maggie Grace, and more Hollywood actors reflecting on Shakespeare”s impact on their own lives and on the world.
Come back to HitFix throughout the next few days to watch more Shakespeare reading videos, including Lynn Collins” impassioned reading from another part of Romeo and Juliet, Fran Kranz”s lively string of insults from King Lear, and Jim Beaver”s excellent Richard III monologue.