Historical - Pre-Production 2013

Judith Shakespeare marries the womanizing and bankrupt Tom Quiney to please her father, William Shakespeare. Later, William cuts her off his will (with the purpose of cutting out Tom) when he finds out that Tom murdered his pregnant mistress so that he can partake in Judith’s inheritance.

    • Year of production
    • 2013
    • Genres
    • Historical, Drama
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 10 - 25 M$
    • Duration
    • 120 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Leif BRISTOW
    • Writer(s)
    • Producer(s)
    • Leif BRISTOW (Canada), Michel HOUDMONT (Belgium), Jean-Jacques NEIRA (Belgium)
    • Synopsis
    • It is 1650 in Stratford. JUDITH QUINEY (65) is the talk of the town among the villagers of Puritan times. Her husband TOM QUINEY has recently left her. She walks through the forest carrying a dusty, leather satchel on her back. She finally reaches her destination- the house of RALPH CRANE, an old and wrinkly man with thick eyeglasses, a man her FATHER used to work with in London. Unable to read, she hands him some loose yellow papers from her bag and asks him to interpret them. She must know the reason why her father, WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, cut her off his will. Now she will never get to taste her share of her family inheritance.
      The story of her relationship with her father unfolds in a flashback. She is 11 and her father (32 at this time) comes home every summer from working in London. Unlike her older sister Susana (14) who is beautiful and feminine, Judith is wreckless and a bit boyish. She likes to go to the woods with her father to hunt. One day, her brother Hamnet (11), starts feeling ill and unexpectedly dies. William would have liked his son to grow up and handle their family business affairs. Judith desires to mean as much to her father as Hamnet did and she tries to wear his clothes to Stratford Grammar school to learn how to read and write, but the teacher walks her out because she is a girl. One of the schoolboys, TOM QUINEY, lustfully sets his eye on her from this day forth. He approaches her and offers to teach her how to read and write if she takes her clothes off. Furious, she draws her bow and arrow and tells him to back off..
      Meanwhile, Susana ends up dating a young physician and Puritan named JOHN HALL (26) from Cambridge University. Judith goes on an adventure and follows William to London to convince him to come home. William ends up writing a play dedicated to the Queen called “The Merry Wives of Windsor.” It becomes a hit and she is deeply touched by it. At a party, Judith meets a handsome, young playwright but William disapproves of him claiming that she should be with a man with more substance.
      William and Judith come home to Stratford and finds out that John Hall has taken over the household and gotten rid of his dog in an attempt to avoid spreading plagues. From this day on, John Hall will now make consistent comments about the Shakespeares’ way of living in regards to cure, medicine and way of living. Judith dates a muscular man named TIMOTHY but as usual, William disapproves of him and insists that she dates Tom Quiney because he was educated at Oxford and he is the son of his friend.
      A few years later, Judith and Tom meet again. He is now the owner of a pub called Cage Tavern. Once again, he expresses his interest in her. She later stops by the pub and catches a prostitute performing fellatio on him. He writes William a letter informing him that his daughter refuses to be courted. Susanna and John Hall finally get married and while William is giving his speech, Tom and Judith end up having relations outside.
      Susanna gets pregnant and gives birth to a girl. Her life is endangered and she is never to have children again. William is clearly disappointed that it is not a boy. He turns to Judith and tells her that it is up to her to have a grandson for him. It is 1613 when William finally comes home for good. Tom approaches him about marrying Judith. Although William is aware that Tom wants to marry his daughter because he is bankrupt and a large dowry would settle his debts, he also knows that he might be the only suitor that would take his daughter. Tom gets a pub maid named MARGARET pregnant but promises to still see her and give her money even when he is married. Judith knows about this but she comes up with a plan. She will marry Tom to please her father, and once the baby is born and the Bishop finds out, their marriage will quickly be annulled. This way, she can grant her father’s wishes and still be a free woman. Unfortunately, her plan fails when both Margaret and the baby die during labor. Judith is stuck with Tom and she wonders why her father cut her off his will when she gave up her life for him.
      Crane examines the pages of the paper and sees something scribbled in Latin. He discovers a secret that will answer all of Judith’s questions. John Hall examines the corpse and his findings show that Tom gave Margaret rat poison during labor to keep his hands on the Shakespeare inheritance. John Hall immediately informs William, and the latter quickly changes his will, this is to cut off Judith so that Tom won’t get any of the lands and riches of the Shakespeares. In doing so, Judith’s life will be protected because Tom would have done the same thing that he did to Margaret and claim the inheritance upon her death. Tom leaves Judith immediately after William’s death aware of the fact that he will never get to taste the riches of the Shakespeares.
    • Beginning of shooting
    • Oct 01, 2013