THE skeleton of Laurence Olivier is to portray the modern-day Richard III in a new play.
Theatre producers have exhumed the great stage actor to participate in a contemporary stage version of Shakespeare’s play, which opens with the king being dug up in a car park.
Impresario Tom Logan said: “Olivier’s portrayal of Richard was legendary, and what’s even more incredible is how similar they look now.
“Even after death Larry remained utterly devoted to his art, forcing his skin and organs to disintegrate so that he would become a skeleton just like Richard.”
Olivier’s bones, controlled by a series of pulleys, will give a largely mime-based performance in the show at the Globe Theatre.
Logan said: “The popular conception is that skeletons’ acting range is limited to being scary.
“But Larry will show us there is so much more to bones – a skull with its jaws operated by bits of string can also evoke feelings of joy, pity, even bemusement.”
However film critic Emma Bradford said: “The problem for Olivier’s skeleton’s career is, what next? Probably it’ll end up taking a high seven-figure sum to play a baddie in an instalment of the Rush Hour franchise.
“Putting actors’ exhumed remains in films can really ruin them for the fans. Look what happened when they cast the long-deceased John Wayne in 1994’s disastrous The Bony Sheriff.”