Kean – The genius who made acting real. The life of the world’s first superstar, Edmund Kean, his rise to fame and his tumultuous life, is juxtaposed with the modern superstar, Nick Lathuro, who is cast to play Kean in a biographical movie. Edmund Kean is acknowledged as the greatest-ever Shakespearean actor, and the world’s first superstar. He is also credited with being the first actor to bring Naturalistic acting to the modern era, breaking the hold of the tragedian-style, as perfected by masters such a Kemble. The status given to the first actor of the British stage meant that he was immediately in the company of gentry, all the way up to and including the Royal Family. But unlike other first actors, Kean was lower class. Born of a prostitute mother and drunkard father, he could not shake off the shame of his humble beginnings and so rebelled against the snobbery of the age. He was himself a drunkard and womanizer and indulged in all forms of outrageous behavior, with scandal his constant companion. Such was his power on stage, however, that he was even so regarded as the greatest actor of the age - this, when he was also short and plain-looking - the antithesis of the classic tragedian actor. When his excesses became too extreme he attempted to take refuge on tour in the US. Here he was met with such moral outrage and derision that there were mass riots and the Boston theatre was burned to the ground. Kean had a contemporary ally - that other controversial man-of-letters - Lord Byron. But Kean was hell-bent on cramming as much passion into his life as possible - for a flame to burn so brightly it must also burn more quickly. Most eras supply a Kean-like figure, and so too does modern Hollywood. In “Flashes of Lightning” Kean is mirrored by Nick Lathuro, an American superstar who travels to England, and despite howls of protest is contracted to play their greatest-ever actor. Just as Kean was not accepted by the gentry, yet triumphed, so too must Lathuro overthrow his doubters and take his place as the leading actor of the age.