Romeo and Juliet 2013: To see or not to see?

For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo

I wonder how Shakespeare would feel about that statement now, given the number of times his tale has been re-told?

Perhaps the most famous adaptation (for my generation at least) is Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 beauty, Romeo + Juliet. Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes broke the hearts of billions as the star-crossed lovers in fancy dress. Sure by the time that film ended there were enough tears to fill that godforsaken fish tank ten times over. And Pete Postlethwaite. God I loved Pete Postlethwaite (RIP).

And as for Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 classic? If you haven’t seen the original, you should find yourself a copy. Olivia Hussey (Juliet) is enchanting, and like all old school epics, it’s got something about it that you just don’t see in the cinema these days.

Funnily enough 90s Juliet, Danes, has a rather tentative link to the latest adaptation, given that her Homeland co-star Damian Lewis is on board to play Juliet’s doting daddy, Lord Capulet, in Romeo and Juliet 2013 (That’s not the actual title). He’s just one of the well known names that make up the supporting cast: Californication’s Natascha McElhone and Sideways star Paul Giammati are in there too. Plus, my favourite Swede of the Skarsgard variety, big daddy Stellan Skarsgard, is the Prince of Verona.

Replacing Danes in the lead role is none other than Hollywood wonder child Hailee Steinfeld. At the tender age of 14 this little lady proved she had True Grit, and now that she’s all grown up (ie 16-years-old, making us all feel rather wonderful about what we’ve accomplished) she’s taking on some meatier roles.

Romeo-and-Juliet-Remake-Poster-2013Her Romeo comes in the form of relative unknown (he’s a familiar face in the UK and Ireland) Douglas Booth. You’ll be hearing a lot more about the Ed Westwick look-a-like in future though, he’s been cast as one of Russell Crowe’s sons in Darren Aronofsky’s upcoming biblical epic Noah, and will also be featuring the Wachowski siblings’ Jupiter Ascending with Mila Kunis.

Speaking of Westwick though, the Gossip Girl star pops up in this here new spin on the Shakespeare original, playing none other than Tybalt himself. I’m a big fan of Ed’s, but he’s got big shoes to fill: John Leguizamo made a mean Capulet cousin back in the 1990s. Can Chuck Bass cut it in fair Verona? Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Downton Abbey fans may be pleased to know that Julian Fellowes was in charge of the script this time around, while Carlo Carlei (I have no clue, I’m not an expert) will direct the film. Don’t expect anything futuristic: It’s going to be told Zeffirelli style.


I don’t proclaim to be a film buff: As I’ve said before, I judge movies based on whether or not I find the tale, and the manner in which it is told, entertaining and engaging. Will this one probably fail to live up to Luhrmann’s beloved cult classic, and send us scrambling for a bit of beautiful young Leonardo? Most likely, but sure I’ll still give it a go.

Romeo and Juliet hits Irish cinemas on July 26th 2013, with a US release scheduled for September 6th.

Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona, where we lay our scene, from ancient grudge break to new mutiny, where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes, a pair of star-crossed lovers take their life, whose misadventured piteous overthrows, doth with their death bury their parents̓ strife. The fearful passage of their death-marked love, and the continuance of their parents̓ rage, which but their children̓s end, naught could remove, is now the two-hours̓traffic of our stage; The which if you with patient ears attend, what here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.



One response to “Romeo and Juliet 2013: To see or not to see?

  1. Reblogged this on Lawless View and commented:
    Strange how this continues to re-told again and again. It seems has became a template for feeble ideas when Hollywood are at a loss for fresh movies. We enter the dawn in films were just rehash the old basics….let it be I say. Give Shakespeare a well deserved rest!

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