Shakespeare has been making steady appearances at the movies lately. 2011 saw Ralph Fiennes‘ Coriolanus, later this year we’ll be seeing Joss Whedon‘s Much Ado about Nothing and Carlo Carlei’s generic-looking adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, and now it looks like Macbeth will be headed our way. According to Screen Daily, Michael Fassbender is set to play the lead role of the murderous king who seizes power only to be undone by paranoia, ambition, and fate. Justin Kurzel (The Snowtown Murders) is set to direct the adaptation, which was written by Todd Louiso and Jacob Koskoff, and will be set in the 11th century with a “visceral approach to the story including significant battle scenes.” Casting is currently underway for the manipulative Lady Macbeth “and talks are underway with at least one Hollywood leading actress.”
However, don’t expect the film to start shooting in the near future. Kurzel is currently set to direct an adaptation of John Le Carre‘s Our Kind of Traitor later this year, and Fassbender is at work on X-Men: Days of Future Past. The actor is also attached to star in Genius and Assassin’s Creed.
Around this time last year, we found out that Joss Whedon (The Avengers) had completed an entire movie in secret; that movie was a contemporary adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. The film recently screened at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival (you can read Matt’s review of it here) and scored a big prize when it was reported that Lionsgate had acquired the film, along with sister company, Roadside Attractions. The micro-budget film was completed in just twelve days in Santa Monica and features such Whedonesque regulars as Amy Acker (The Cabin in the Woods), Nathan Fillion (Firefly) and, now, Clark Gregg (The Avengers). Hit the jump for more on the acquisition and to see what Whedon himself had to say about it.
For Joss Whedon, it looks like there’s always time for Shakespeare. One would think that work on The Avengers would consume almost all of the writer-director’s schedule, but apparently he’s been able to squeeze in the mysterious project Much Ado about Nothing. Since the website says “Based on a Play”, presumably it means the one by William Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s romantic-comedy centers around two couples: the lively and interesting Beatrice and Benedict, and the mopey and less-interesting Claudio and Hero. Both couples a betrayed by the villainous Don John, but love wins out in the end and both couples end up getting married. Despite the lack of supernatural or sci-fi elements, it’s a story that fits nicely into Whedon’s wheelhouse of characters.
Nathan Fillion revealed the project by tweeting a link to the website, and plenty of the usual Whedon suspects have been rounded up for the cast. In addition to Fillion, there’s Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Tom Lenk, Ashley Johnson, Fran Kranz, Reed Diamond, Riki Lindhome, Sean Maher, plus recent collaborator Clark Gregg along with a bunch of new faces. If you’re wondering how a project like this flies under the radar until now, it’s probably because it was a low-budget affair that Whedon cranked out over the course of a few weekends. The photo above is from the website, but we don’t know if it’s an image from the movie, referencing from the movie, or if it’s just how Bellwether Pictures like to congratulate its productions. I’m eager to find out Whedon’s take on the material and how he plans to distribute the picture. [Update: A full press release has appeared on the website, revealing more details about the project including who's playing what role. Hit the jump to read.]
In Julie Taymor’s version of William Shakespeare’s final masterpiece The Tempest, the gender of the traditionally male sorcerer Prospero has been changed into the sorceress Prospera and is played by the illustrious Helen Mirren. The film follows the exiled Prospera on a journey from vengeance to forgiveness as she reigns over a magical island, cares for her daughter Miranda (Felicity Jones), and unleashes her powers against those who have wronged her. With the assistance of the sometimes unwilling Ariel (Ben Whishaw) and Caliban (Djimon Hounsou), Prospera puts her former tormentors – members of the royal court – through a series of adventures, while the king’s son Ferdinand (Reeve Carney) meets Miranda and falls in love at first sight.
During a press conference at the film’s press day, director Julie Taymor talked about the reasons behind her passion for bringing The Tempest to the big screen, developing the mother-daughter relationship for the film, her decision to cast Russell Brand to do Shakespeare and the importance of not playing up stereotypes. She also gave a brief update on the status of the Broadway production of Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark, currently in previews. Check out what she had to say after the jump:
With writer-director Julie Taymor’s The Tempest opening December 10 in New York and Los Angeles, we’ve been given 5 clips and 15 high resolution images from the film. Adapted from William Shakespeare, Taymor has added a twist to the material by switching the gender of the sorcerer Prospero into the sorceress Prospera (who is played by Oscar winner Helen Mirren). In addition, Taymor has brought along an all-star cast featuring Russell Brand, Alfred Molina, Djimon Hounsou, David Strathairn, Chris Cooper, Alan Cumming, Ben Whishaw, Reeve Carney, Felicity Jones, and Tom Conti.
Hit the jump to check out the clips and images. Look for interviews with the cast next week.
by Ron Messer Posted: August 11th, 2010 at 7:06 pm
Paul Dano’s career has been defined by strong performances opposite award-winning actors. The stunning list of his high-profile onscreen pairings range from his breakthrough, Indie Spirit Award-winning turn for Best Debut Performance in 2001’s L.I.E. as the target of a pedophile, played by fellow nominee Brian Cox, to his portrayal of a nihilistic teen as part of Little Miss Sunshine’s 2007 SAG Award winning ensemble where he shared a backseat in the Hoover’s family van with Alan Arkin in the 76-year-old’s Oscar-winning performance, to his performance of a preacher and his twin (Paul and Eli Sunday) opposite eventual Oscar-winner Daniel Day-Lewis’ unhinged oil man Daniel Plainview in Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood.
Collider caught up with the 26-year-old to discuss his latest big screen partnership in The Extra Man, which opened in Los Angeles this past weekend to continue its national rollout, opposite Kevin Kline. Hit the jump for the interview’s transcript and audio, along with stories of his early work with several Oscar winners, Daniel Day-Lewis’ intensity, whether he’ll work on Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film, his take on the Broadway musical adaptation of Little Miss Sunshine and the danger of dressing in drag, on screen.
Ralph Fiennes is making his directorial debut with “Coriolanus”, a can’t miss script from William Shakespeare (that 393-year-old dead guy is really going places). Fiennes will pull Shakespeare’s family-political tragedy (the two never seem to mix well in Shakespeare’s plays) out of ancient Rome and into what’s being called a “contemporary version”. Butler will play Tullus Aufidius, commander of the Volscian army from Shakespeare’s play and nemesis of Coriolanus (Fiennes). Butler joins a cast that includes William Hurt, Eddie Marsan, Jessica Chastain, and Vanessa Redgrave. [THR]
I’m currently in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where I just got out of the press conference for Roland Emmerich’s upcoming disaster flick “2012″ during which he spoke about two of his upcoming projects. One is his plan to adapt Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” which we first heard about in January of this year.
But the other film and the one he plans to start shooting this March came as a major shock to me because the movie is about William Shakespeare. For those that don’t know Emmerich also directed “Independence Day” and “The Day After Tomorrow” so this is a major shift for him. The film is called “Anonymous” and he planned to make the movie back in 2005 under the name “Soul of the Age”. This new script is by John Orloff (“Band of Brothers”, “A Mighty Heart”) and Emmerich says it’s his next movie. Hit the jump for details on both films.
Emile Hirsch is one of the great young actors of his generation but I fear that the Oscar-snub for his work in “Into the Wild” (I can’t stress enough how much the Academy messed up that year for ignoring that film while jacking-off the excruciating “Atonement”) followed by the disappointing box office of the genuinely fun “Speed Racer” may have cooled his career. But you can’t keep a good man down and that’s why he’s going to re-imagine Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” which, as we all know, is about an insane prince whose attempts to avenge his father’s death ends up with pretty much everyone dying at the end. Count of Monte Cristo, he ain’t.
Hirsch conceived his modern re-imagining with “Twilight” director Catherine Hardwicke and that, as the Bard would say, is the rub. I think Hardwicke is acclaimed for making youth movies that in no way reflect the genuine emotions or actions of young people. Furthermore, while she may be acclaimed as one of the few successful female directors, “Twilight”, her most successful film, made no attempt to distance itself from Stephanie Meyer’s repulsive lesson of women relying on men for protection and definition. Instead, she just washed the film in a blue filter and had laughably bad special effects.
Hirsh and Hardwicke have tapped “Philadelphia” screenwriter Ron Nyswaner for the script which will take place in contemporary America. Producers Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen (“Milk”) tell The Hollywood Reporter that their goal is “to present the story as a suspense thriller. We want to make it exciting and accessible for an audience today.” You know, I think “Hamlet” is exciting and accessible on its own. That’s why it’s fucking Shakespeare.