Shakespeare is rolling in his grave

Julie Taymor (Across The Universe), aka one of the most overrated directors working today and ironically one of the most respected female directors ugh, is about to start production on her rape of The Tempest, adapted from the play by William Shakespeare (Romeo And Juliet). The film will star Helen Mirren (National Treasure: Book Of Secrets), Jeremy Irons (Appaloosa), Djimon Hounsou (Never Back Down), Russell Brand (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Alfred Molina (The Da Vinci Code), Ben Wishaw (Brideshead Revisited), Felicity Jones (Brideshead Revisited) and possibly Geoffrey Rush (the Elizabeth movies).

Although the play centers on Prospero, an exiled duke-turned-sorcerer, Taymor — who likes to take an experimental approach to her stage and film projects — has rechristened the lead character Prospera so that Mirren can take on the role.

Shakespeare’s play mixes romance with fraternal politics and the supernatural. As revised for the screen, it will center around Prospera, her daughter Miranda (Jones) and a shipwrecked crew full of Prospera’s enemies.

The island’s other inhabitants include Hounsou as the deformed slave Caliban and Wishaw as the airy spirit Ariel.

On the ship are rising comedy star Brand, playing Trinculo, a jester; Irons, as Alonso, the King of Naples; and Molina as the drunken butler Stephano. Rush would play Gonzalo, a royal adviser and old ally of Prospera’s.

Sure the cast is good, but that’s never stopped a bad film and that’s all I’ve seen from Taymor. Is anyone else here disgusted at this travesty? Kenneth Branagh maybe?

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New Trailer and Poster: Valkyrie

This second, probably final trailer for Valkyrie, the new movie from director Bryan Singer (Superman Returns) and writers Christopher McQuarrie (The Way Of The Gun) and newcomer Nathan Alexander based on the true story of several German officers who plotted to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1944 looks like it was made specifically to please all those who were unenthusiastic about the first one, by adding a more cliché kind of tension and showcasing more action.

I thought the first trailer was more engaging, since this one really is a lot more stereotypical, but if it gets more people to go see it, then fine. Reaction to this movie so far has baffled me. That whole argument about already knowing the ending, isn’t that true about every movie based on a true story? And since when do people pay so much attention to accents when English-speaking people play characters of other nationalities? Anyway, star Tom Cruise (Tropic Thunder) had this to say in a recent interview:

You know, we spent a lot of time going back and forth over that. All of a sudden you’re listening to people trying to put on accents and Bryan finally said, ‘No, no, no.’ Just tell the story. We don’t want to do an accent movie, just try and find something neutral that won’t distract from the story and the characters.

Also the talent contained in this film is amazing. In addition to Cruise, Valkyrie stars Kenneth Branagh (Five Children And It), Terence Stamp (Get Smart), Tom Wilkinson (RocknRolla), Stephen Fry (St. Trinian’s), Eddie Izzard (Across The Universe), Thomas Kretschmann (Wanted), Bill Nighy (Hot Fuzz) and WW2 regular Carice Van Houten (Black Book) among others. It will be released in the US and Austria on December 26th, and most other countries in January or February 2009.

You can watch a well-made behind the scenes featurette after the jump. As for the poster, I think it looks pretty cool, but yet somehow feel it doesn’t really suit the film. What do you think of the new trailer and poster?

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