101 Funniest Screenplays

“Romeo and Ethel the Pirate’s Daughter?” Toiling away at that unfortunately titled work, Shakespeare needs a muse – his Juliet. He finds her in Lady Viola, even if young Will is just an ink-stained wretch and the lady (she really wants to act) belongs to a count. This mashup of the Bard’s reputation and best-known tragic romance earned co-screenwriters Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Norman wrote the first drafts before the author of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead came aboard to further free the script from the formidable Shakespeare brand. “Marc had broken the ice,” Stoppard told the Los Angeles Times, “He'd invented this very charming story.” Said Norman: “Elizabethan drama reminds me of the early days of movies, a bunch of guys holding this tiger by the tail, the tiger of popular entertainment."

WATCH: Tom Stoppard accepts the 2013 Writers Guild West Screen Laurel Award