‘Tempest’ finally ready for its close-up

Posted by · 6:20 pm · May 10th, 2010

Hey, remember “The Tempest?” Julie Taymor’s adaptation of the William Shakespeare play — with Helen Mirren stepping into the gender-switching lead of Prospera – seems to have been on deck forever.  But while I believe the film truly wasn’t completed until recently, being trapped in the sinking ship that was Miramax surely couldn’t have helped matters.

The film looks to be a below-the-line awards monster waiting to happen, with such esteemed veterans as Stuart Dryburgh, Sandy Powell and the incredibly under-appreciated Mark Friedberg on board.  Now it will serve as a fixture in what could be a banner year for Mirren, as the actress has no less than four (and maybe more) films scheduled to hit screens in 2010.

A recent USA Today story is doing its part to stir early populist interest in advance of the December release date.  Anthony Breznican sat down with Taymor to get the goods (and the new production still featured here).

Regarding the gender change, Taymor is of course ready with the proper sound byte:

I wanted to do it because there are actresses like Helen Mirren who never get to play these fantastic parts because they were not written for women…We changed the role. It’s one of the few plays where it not only doesn’t hurt the play, but enhances the play.

Still, while being a part of “the year of Mirren” will be a nice touch, it’s rather unfortunate, given the above, that it couldn’t make the circuit last year in time for the “year of the woman” rally cry.

Check out the rest of the story at USA Today.

→ 9 Comments Tags: , , | Filed in: Daily

9 responses so far

  • 1 5-10-2010 at 7:21 pm

    Hans said...

    Really? Last year was Year of the Woman? Wasn’t it last year that everyone was bemoaning a lackluster Best Actress field (leading, of course, to the boneheadedly misplaced category campaigns for Cotillard and Laurent)?

  • 2 5-10-2010 at 7:29 pm

    Glenn said...

    Taymor’s point would’ve been better if she’d cast someone who, unlike Mirren, actually doesn’t get film roles very often anymore. Mirren is about as daring a casting role (for a male or female part) as Meryl Streep.

    Nevertheless, I am so there for this. It’s going to look fantastic if nothing else.

  • 3 5-10-2010 at 8:09 pm

    Alex in Movieland said...

    what is Sandy Powell doing?!

    I am not digging Mirren’s photo outfit. I would’ve liked something more exotic AND feminine (!), if she’s really going all the way with the feministic stuff.

    why does feminist always need to look pants and lesbianish?

  • 4 5-10-2010 at 8:52 pm

    Encore Entertainment said...

    Alex has me laughing (what is it with that tepid costume?), truthfully Julie Taymor makes me go blech, but that’s a whole other issue. The thing is I’m really at a loss to see how the play is improved by having the implausibility of a woman in that era be able to do all that Prospero did, but hey – I’m so there…this is Helen M.

  • 5 5-10-2010 at 9:36 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Hans: We’ve wrestled that one to death around here.

  • 6 5-11-2010 at 4:13 am

    Bonzo said...

    Frida was fantastic. Original, emotional and beautiful. Across the Universe stank though.

  • 7 5-12-2010 at 5:40 am

    John H. Foote said...

    Both “Frida” and “Across the Universe” made it to Toronto Film Fest, here’s hoping this one is there in the fall. Love Taymor’s work, bold, visionary — “Titus” was extraordinary.

  • 8 5-12-2010 at 9:33 pm

    John said...

    Titus was weird as shit.

  • 9 5-17-2010 at 10:46 pm

    Ross said...

    I have this feeling that even though she has four films coming, Mirren won’t receive a single Oscar nomination this year! Yes, she has four films, but I don’t have much faith in them!