Television’s Homeland star Damian Lewis has been cast in the adaptation of Romeo and Juliet directed by Carlo Carlei (The Flight of the Innocent). Production is currently underway in Italy, with Paul Giamatti recently joining as Friar Lawrence and with Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth playing the star-crossed lovers. Lewis has been cast as Lord Capulet in the strict adaptation written by Oscar-winner Julian Fellowes of Gosford Park and Downton Abbey fame. The film, aimed at drawing in a younger audience, also stars Ed Westwick as Tybalt and Kodi Smit-McPhee as Benvolio. Hit the jump to see who else has recently joined the cast of Romeo and Juliet.
THR reports that the following actors have been cast in the respective roles:
- Natascha McElhone – Lady Capulet
- Stellan Skarsgard – Prince of Verona
- Lesley Manville – The Nurse
- Christian Cooke – Mercutio
- Tomas Arana – Lord Montague
- Laura Morante – Lady Montague
- Leon Vitali – Apothecary
Set to draw in a new generation of audience members while retaining its period-appropriate setting, Romeo and Juliet is not a “modern day interpretation” but an attempt at a strict adaptation. According to Fellowes, who was referencing the 1968 venture by director Franco Zeffirelli:
“We felt that it had been quite a long time since there had been a romantic, traditional rendition of the piece. People have made Romeo since then — and some very good ones — but they were set in modern Ohio or whatever. This isn’t that. This is the romantic medieval love story as conceived by Shakespeare. We felt that really what we needed was just to make it slightly more accessible to today’s generation. That, I hope, is all we’ve done. My dream would be that you watch it and you think you’ve watched the whole thing written by Shakespeare.”
Of course, everyone thinks of Baz Lurhmann’s 1996 Romeo + Juliet with Leonardo Di Caprio and Claire Danes when adaptations are discussed. Even this year, audiences will see an undead interpretation of the classic story in Jonathan Levine’s Warm Bodies. But if classic is what you want, stick with Fellowes.