Shakespeare's Tempest gains big cast
So far I still believe that Kenneth Branagh has had the best Shakespeare adaptations to date, including Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing and Love's Labours Lost, however Julie Taymor is lining up a stunning cast and might just start biting at his heels with her version of The Tempest.
Helen Mirren will take the lead role, changing the sex of the lead character for the film which some of the media is finding to be somewhat controversial for some reason, and stacked behind her are an eclectic mix of talent with a few more big names and Oscar winners.
Helen Mirren plays the lead role of Prospera, see the name change from Prospero, and is backed up by Jeremy Irons as Alonso, King of Naples, Djimon Hounsou as the slace Caliban, Russell Brand playing the character of the joker Trinculo, Alfred Molina as the butler Stephano, Ben Whishaw as the spirit Ariel, Felicity Jones playing Prospero's daughter and Reeve Carney as Ferdinand, King Alonso's son. In another big name coup, according to Yahoo News, Geoffrey Rush is also in negotiations to play the Royal advisor Gonzalo.
For those of you who don't know the story of The Tempest, here's a quick recap. The play centres on the character of Prospero, or Prospera here, who is a duke, or now duchess, and sorcerer. She, I'll just go with the film sex for this blurb, is involved in a power struggle with her brother who teams up with King Alonso and secures her fate. She is sent away on a ship with her daughter and they land at an island where they make a home in exile.
King Alonso and his entourage are sailing home from his daughter's wedding in Tunis and are hit by a storm, a Tempest, conjured up by Prospera. Before the ship is scuttled they dive overboard and seek refuge on the same island.
On the island Prospera has allied herself with a sprite, Ariel, and the slave Caliban. He believes that he is the rightful ruler to the island and begins to plot with King Alonso, meanwhile Prospera has plans for the King and his crew while sub-plots galore act out, including the falling in love of Prospera's daughter and King Alonso's son.
It has all of the classic Shakespearean qualities, and more, and would make for a great film, as indeed they all do. However with this cast line up it's really starting to get interesting, and looks like it might rival Kenneth Branagh's big cast productions.
Saying that there's the surprise inclusion of Russell Brand, and that's a big step up for him in his film career, and another superb role for Ben Whishaw.
I'm really excited by the film and that cast list, and The Tempest is a production that might just work well on screen. Are you intrigued?