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?


Ramayan comic gets adapted

Mandalay Pictures has picked up the rights to adapt Ramayan 3392 A.D., a comic book created by philosopher Deepak Chopra and filmmaker Shekhar Kapur (the Elizabeth films) that is essentially a simplified sci-fi retelling of one of the Hindu religion’s most sacred texts.

The action-adventure story centers on Prince Rama — a legendary blue-skinned warrior who in mythology is an incarnation of the god Vishnu — as he fights to save his beloved from demon forces.

Screenwriter John Collee (Happy Feet) will adapt the comic book. I’d personally be more interested in seeing a big budget spectacularly epic version of the original antique tale, which has Rama travelling to Sri Lanka to save his kidnapped wife Sita, but I’d want that movie to have Indian actors, so I’m kind of glad Hollywood is going this route.