MIRREN, IRONS, HOUNSOU, MOLINA TO STAR IN HAWAII-BASED SHAKESPEARE FILM ADAPTATION

MIRREN, IRONS, HOUNSOU, MOLINA TO STAR IN HAWAII-BASED SHAKESPEARE FILM ADAPTATION

PRODUCTION BULLETIN: Rumored for months among Hawaii crew and whispered between some local film commissioners now Miramax has confirmed that director Julie Taymor will film for as long as five weeks in Hawaii a big screen adaptation of the Shakespeare play The Tempest with several Oscar winning actors. Filming will begin next month on Lanai for about about four weeks followed by one to two weeks on the Big Island. The cast of Helen Mirren, Jeremy Irons, Djimon Hounsou, Russell Brand, Alfred Molina, Ben Wishaw and Felicity Jones may represent the most stellar array of acting talent to ever work together on a Hawaii-based project. Another Oscar winner –  Geoffrey Rush – is in negotiations to join the cast…

Taymor’s take on the classic play is a gender-defying twist with Mirren reigning over the story’s magical island. Although the real Shakespeare play centers on Prospero, an exiled duke-turned-sorcerer, Taymor has rechristened the lead character Prospera so that Mirren can take that part…

Scouts for the production already have searched Lanai and the Big Island that included Taymor, the film’s director of photography, first assistant director, special effects manager, and local locations manager Val Kim. “It’s not a question any more of if the production will come to Hawaii. (The production) is just fine tuning the details before filming begins here next month,” a source close to the production said. About 70 crew will work on The Tempest, a mix of local IATSE and those from Los Angeles…

Angie Laprete also is working on The Tempest likely as production coordinator…

Filming is slated to begin on Lanai Nov. 10 or 11 and run into the first week of December when the production will move to the Big Island for 7 to 10 days filming, sources said…

Rumors about The Tempest filming here started circulating nearly a year ago but delays in getting the reported $25 million production budget for the unusual concept – by any Hollywood standard – slowed start up…Rumors were so strong last spring that an executive working on a Lifetime MOW shooting on Oahu called Taymor at her Los Angeles home asking to work on the project…

The Tempest is produced by Bob Chartoff, Lynn Hendee, Julie Taylor-Stanley and Taymor. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Miramax has the rights to all English-speaking territories; Icon is handling foreign sales…

As revised for the big screen, the film centers 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 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…The Tempest is Taymor’s second big-screen foray into Shakespearean territory – she turned Titus Andronicus into the 1999 film Titus.

Taymor also directed Disney’s Broadway musical adaptation of The Lion King and Disney’s specialty division Miramax, which released her Salma Hayek-starrer Frida.

Taymor and company last scouted in Hawaii in mid September for one day on the Big Island. Taynor specifically wanted to see desolate lava landscapes and part of the scout took her to various Big Island county and state parks. “She loved what she saw and pointed out specific locations that would work for scenes in the film,” a production source said…

Mirren earned best actress honors for The Queen; Irons took home the best actor trophy for Reversal of Fortune and Rush got the nod for Shine

Hounsou won best supporting actor nominations for Blood Diamond and In America

Taymor has directed The Tempest on stage twice. Her 1986 production was filmed by WNET-TV in New York and shown on American public television. Taymor in a recent published interview said The Tempest is one of those Shakespeare plays in which (a gender twist) is not for the worst, but brings a whole lot more to its depth.”

“It goes back to the 16th or 17th century, and women practicing magical arts of alchemy, who were often convicted of witchcraft,” she told The Age. “In my version, Prospera is usurped by her brother and sent off with her-four-year daughter on a ship. She ends up on an island; it’s a tabula rasa: no society, so the mother figure becomes a father figure to Miranda. You have the power struggle and balance between Caliban and Prospero; it’s not about brawn, but about intellect.”

For the record: No one mentioned in this report was a source for its information.

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