The cast of the revamped version of the centuries-old story of ROMEO AND JULIET has been completed, adding HOMELAND star Damian Lewis as Lord Capulet. This comes after news that Hailee Steinfeld of TRUE GRIT will play his daughter, Juliet, while Douglas Booth from the BBC adaptation of GREAT EXPECTATIONS will play Romeo.
Rounding out the Capulet family will be Natascha McElhone as Lady Capulet, while Tomas Arana and Laura Morante will play Booth’s parents, Lord and Lady Montague. Other members of the cast include Stellan Skarsgard as Prince of Verona, Christian Cooke as Mercutio, Ed Westwick as Tybalt, Kodi Smit-McPhee as Benvolio, Paul Giamatti as Friar Laurence, Lesley Manville as The Nurse and Leon Vitali as The Apothecary. Julian Fellowes, the Oscar-winning screenwriter behind GOSFORD PARK, has written the adaptation of the Shakespearian classic, with Carlo Carlei as director.
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Fellowes’ version is set to be slightly different to the Baz Luhrmann interpretation from 1996, which starred a young Leonardo DiCaprio and Clare Danes. Unlike Luhrmann’s setting of a modern-day city, contrasted with Shakespearian language, this renewal is based in the original period setting. However, Fellowes plans to draw in a new, younger generation of audience members.
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.
As for trying to rewrite one of Shakespeare’s best loved plays, Fellowes adds that he has managed to fit the play into an average two-hour feature length, and had to do little rewriting because the theme of young love is recognised globally.
Every generation is interested in love. I mean, there is something about young love that is heartbreaking, and I think every teenager in the world would agree. All of that is very powerful. The point about teenage love is it’s before cynicism comes in to reshape one’s attitudes. You love when you’re young in a way that you’ll probably never love again.
The producers and filmmakers behind this reworking were apparently adamant that they wanted actors that were able to portray the young characters as close to reality as possible – the reason behind casting Steinfeld and Booth.
Fellowes is producing alongside employees of Amber Entertainment, Generator Entertainment, Swarovski Entertainment and Echo Lake Entertainment.
Nadja Swarovski, from Swarovski Entertainment has said, ‘ROMEO AND JULIET has to be retold every 15 years and the cast that they have chosen falls in line with our support of young talent. Yes, it is a risk that we’re taking, but it’s a risk we want to take because we absolutely believe in the talent.’
Filming began ten days ago at Cinecitta Studios in Rome. It will also take place in the towns of Mantua and Siena. Hopefully this will be as good (or maybe even better) than the zany Luhrmann adaptation, which is nearly 16 years old!
Source: The Hollywood Reporter