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Viper X has seen Helen Mirren's Prospera in Julie Taymor's theatrical adaptation of William Shakespeare's THE TEMPEST!!!

Hey folks, Harry here, momentarily, before flying to Aruba for the Aruba International Film Festival. Yeah, I know. Terrible job, eh? Well, here's something we should all be thrilled about. From a Helen Mirren pitch to Julie Taymor... gave birth to what I'm anticipating being a very serious competitor for the Best Actress Oscar. The concept of Helen Mirren playing the witch, Prospera... after having seen her fuck her brother in EXCALIBUR... well, color me interested. THE TEMPEST was the basis for FORBIDDEN PLANET, where Walter Pidgeon turned Prospero into a Moebius, an intellect enhanced translator/Mad man... the adaptation worked well there too. THE TEMPEST is one of my fave works of Shakespeare, simply because there is so much room to play with the characters and themes. Taymor giving Mirren her dream role? FUCKING A! This can not get released soon enough for me. This was a very early test screening. The film doesn't even have a release date hard lined in yet, but you can bet Disney will be eyeing an awards campaign. Taymor's design aesthetic nearly guarantees that - Mirren does as well. At this stage, it probably wasn't color timed, tightened up for editing and it probably didn't have a real score in place yet. That said, this sounds amazing. Here ya go...

Hi Harry, I just got home from an advanced screening in New York City of Julie Taymor's newest movie, The Tempest. I thought I'd chime in on how I felt for all the Taymor and/or Shakespeare fanatics out there. So here's a woman who thought it would be a good idea to team up with Bono and the Edge for a Spiderman musical, which is currently in the shitter due to her two big leads walking away form the project. Before that, she subjected the world to the most inane pile of garbage known to man in the form of a Beatles musical (I'm sorry, but if you enjoyed Across the Universe then you seriously need to sit in a chair for about an hour and just think about your life and the choices you've made.) But remember before these two gigantic mistakes? She made one of the best biopics I've ever seen and rocked the shit out of Titus Andronicus. So now she's returned to Shakespeare and put her mark on The Tempest and let me tell you that she is back to her roots in the best possible way. The first thing that should be said about The Tempest is the impeccable casting. She made a bold choice in turning ProsperO into ProsperA and giving the lead role to Helen Mirren. I was very skeptical with this idea walking in, as the relationship between Miranda and her father has always been one of the most enjoyable parts of this play. But whenever someone walks up to Helen Mirren with a piece of paper and says, "Say those things" and she does, there is no way you aren't going to be blown away. She sells the role like the goddam fox that she is and frankly, steals the show. Every little moment she has is pure genius. The change in sex adds a completely different and interesting take on the story of a girl who has spent her entire life isolated from all men. The rest of the film is chock full of incredible actors including Alfred Molina, Alan Cumming, Chris Cooper, and Djimon Hounsou (who nails the role of Caliban against a wall). Russel Brand is the hot new guy right now so everyone is going to want to know how he does in the role of Trinculo. The guy can actually act. What impressed me the most about Russel Brand was the complete respect he showed to his role and the text. He wasn't merely pulling out the "Russel Brand kinda funny British guy who can riff like the Apatow folks can" thing. He came across as an actual classically trained actor and he was a great Trinculo. Huge honorable mention needs to be given to the immensely talented Ben Whinshaw as the eunuch, Ariel. This guy is going to be really big really soon. What's also impressive about this film is the perfect balance Taymor finds in giving it her signature visually striking flare and letting her actors simply just do their work. Scenes involving Ariel give us our Taymor fix and the special effects work brilliantly. But what we also get are tons of simple scenes where nothing is added and nothing is layered and we are able to relax into a bunch of talented people speaking some of the best words ever written. It's not overly rushed and pumped up like a Baz Luhrmann flick, and it isn't too flat like a lot of Kenneth Branagh's work. It lies right in the middle. Faults of this movie include some motherfucker named Reeve Carney who must have blown several people to land the role of Ferdinand. Imagine a plank of wood. Also, I had a bit of a problem with the editing. Scenes didn't often seam together and you got the idea that the cuts they made to the text got them into a bit of trouble when piecing together the scenes. Scenes stood out a bit too much as "scenes" and the movie didn't flow as well as I wanted it to. The screening audience seemed to like it as I stayed after for a focus group and most everyone agreed they had a great time watching it. I'll be interested to see how the clean it up in the coming months before it is finally released later on this year. If you're a fan of Taymor's best work or enjoy a faithful and entertaining adaptation of Shakespeare, this is right up your alley. TASTE MY MURDERFIST!!! -Viper X

Readers Talkback
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  • June 3, 2010, 11:46 p.m. CST


    by IceTitan

  • June 3, 2010, 11:47 p.m. CST


    by IceTitan

    Yeh that's really about all I had to say about that. Which one was the tempest again?

  • June 3, 2010, 11:51 p.m. CST

    Could be awesome!!

    by MaxTheSilent

    Now just give us Branagh's MACBETH and I'll be a happy chappy.

  • June 3, 2010, 11:53 p.m. CST

    Titus is great

    by Bass Ackwards

    But I'll always be bothered by the cringe worthy decision to do that CG shot at the end. This project wasn't even on my radar, but Taymor + Tempest sounds great, I can't wait. Also, I have nothing but love for Branaugh's Henry V and Hamlet (though maybe a little less love for some poor stunt casting decisions in Hamlet).

  • June 4, 2010, 12:04 a.m. CST


    by morgenes

    Will this spawn a chain of Shakespeare adaptations with reverse sex roles?<p> Hamletta<p> Cymbelina<p> Romea & Julian<p> Queen Leah<p> Julia Caesar<p> Antoinette & Patrick<p> Othella<p> The Taming of the Dude<p> The Rape of Luke<p> ...

  • June 4, 2010, 12:28 a.m. CST

    Sounds good

    by watch_the_world_burn

    I always liked 'The Tempest'. Like Midsummers, it was one of Shakespeare's more fantastical plays, featuring a wizard, a witch, a spirit and a monster. Magical powers are on display, and there's even a little audience involvement at the end (then JM Barrie nicked the idea for his 'Peter Pan' play). Always a fun production to be involved in. Will definitely check this out.

  • June 4, 2010, 12:32 a.m. CST

    Taymor is a theatre director

    by chaplinatemyshoe

    and it has shown in every movie she's made. Don't get me wrong. There are things about Titus that I love, especially in the performances. And I think she's generally pretty great with actors. But man, is she a horrible visual stylist. Way too over the top for my taste.

  • June 4, 2010, 12:35 a.m. CST

    I'm curious...

    by Keblar

    "Viper X" may have an opinion on what's entertaining, but what qualifies them say whether it's a "a faithful...adaptation of Shakespeare"?

  • June 4, 2010, 12:48 a.m. CST

    Helen Mirren looks gay without the wings.

    by schadenfreudian

    There... now this is a real AICN talkback.

  • June 4, 2010, 12:50 a.m. CST

    Across the Universe was presumptuous

    by I_shot_Cyrus

  • June 4, 2010, 1:02 a.m. CST

    Titus was great, but my personal favorite...

    by rabidfnark

    Is the "Richard III" adaptation with Ian McKellen. I think that's right up there with Titus. So, The Tempest with Helen Mirren, huh? Gee, let me think for se- Okay, I'm in!

  • June 4, 2010, 1:06 a.m. CST

    Helen Mirren's so hot for her age.

    by TheWaqman

    God damn! Also this movie sounds interesting indeed. Though I'm still very skeptical of Russell Brand.

  • June 4, 2010, 1:09 a.m. CST

    Goddamn, you haters suck ass!

    by MaxTheSilent

    Fuck your asses with a fat black cock... this movie will be awesome and you will bow down to it, bitches.

  • June 4, 2010, 1:19 a.m. CST

    Reverse sex roles are common in stage

    by Dingbatty

    productions of Shakespeare (there are more women in theater than men). It's out of necessity (and experimentation, of course). Rather fitting, given the lack of women on Elizabethan stage, and the many disguised gender characters in Shakespeare's plays.

  • June 4, 2010, 1:30 a.m. CST

    They cast a FEMALE as Starbuck?

    by ides

    Now this? And the Silence of the Lambs reboot for 2012 with Judi Dench as Hannah Lecter? This is getting out of control.

  • June 4, 2010, 1:35 a.m. CST

    New Expendables trailer reeks of desperation

    by JuanSanchez

  • June 4, 2010, 1:44 a.m. CST

    I spent the required hour in a chair.

    by gotilk

    And for some reason all I could come up with is the idea that ViperX doesn't have a soul. <br><br>*shove*<br><br>Great review though, I've been looking forward to hearing more about this and then BANG we get an actual review from someone who has actually seen it. Sounds fantastic. Taste my soupfist!

  • June 4, 2010, 2:03 a.m. CST

    Reeve Carney totally looks like...

    by Dongalore

    ... a gay James Franco. I know nothing about him, but the name sounded familiar... and then I remembered why. To explain why would be uninteresting, however I randomly stumbled upon this about a year ago: And that's my useless comment of the day. Thank you.

  • June 4, 2010, 2:42 a.m. CST


    by blackwood

    I'd still like to see someone do MEASURE FOR MEASURE.

  • June 4, 2010, 3:01 a.m. CST

    The Tempest (and to a lesser extent, Forbidden Planet)

    by V'Shael

    runs a subtext that Prospero / Morbius has suppressed incestuous sexual desires for his daughter Miranda / Alta.<br /><br />I'll be very interested to see if they've now made this a sapphic island paradise or what.

  • June 4, 2010, 3:20 a.m. CST

    Always love a good Shakespeare shake-up

    by WickedJacob

    Gotta say, I think Shakespeare would've loved it too. He obviously loved messing with gender roles.

  • June 4, 2010, 3:26 a.m. CST

    Anybody who disses ACROSS THE UNIVERSE is dumb

    by AsimovLives

    I don't care if he likes Shakespeare, there's something seriously wrong with anybody who hates ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. And i don't even like musicals, for fuck's sake!

  • June 4, 2010, 3:27 a.m. CST

    "This is not supposed to be shakespeare"

    by AsimovLives

    I can't wait for the first dumbhead to come up with that. Yeah, FORBIDDEN PLANET is not supposed ot be Shakespeare, right? It's just TEH FUN!

  • June 4, 2010, 3:29 a.m. CST

    Anyway, it's good to see some culture at AICN...

    by AsimovLives

    ... instead of the usual hack dick sucking that constantly happens in here, specially about such incompetent fucks like Mickey Bay and Sir JarJar Of Abramsville.

  • June 4, 2010, 3:29 a.m. CST


    by swanstep

    Julia Caesar is a reporter for BBC World. Just sayin' (it always makes me laugh). And The Taming of the Dude sounds Apatow-esque. I'd count on that one sooner or later.

  • June 4, 2010, 3:46 a.m. CST

    AsimovLives tames dudes every night...

    by ErnestBorgNine

    Seriously though, Across The Universe stank. It shoplifted decades and decades of emotional baggage tied to those songs and fooled you into thinking there was something to the film. Fooled you, totally drank your milkshake, made you a sucka.

  • June 4, 2010, 4:05 a.m. CST

    Ben Whishaw is awesome

    by Cat_Corporation

    He's always impressive in film but has done some good TV work here in the UK too. He's been around for ages and has never seemed to hit the big time, but maybe it's because of the projects he chooses - I can't see him doing a massive Hollywood blockbuster, and he's probably all the better for it. I always look forward to seeing his work and as an English Literature graduate, I'm looking forward to this new take on a play I know pretty well...!

  • June 4, 2010, 4:11 a.m. CST

    SO Across the Universe uses the legend of the Beatles...

    by IndustryKiller!

    for it's own emotional punch??!!! Well if that makes it bad then any movie that uses a Beatles song or any film about the Beatles or about the impact of their music sucks too. At least Across the Universe had the balls to put it front and center. Do I think it's a film of incredible depth? No, but I thought it was amazingly acted (seriously how is Joe Anderson not famous by now?) and beautifully features Taymor's genius visual aesthetic.

  • June 4, 2010, 4:47 a.m. CST

    What is this? Ain't It Shakespeare News?

    by RedEgiraahgnal


  • June 4, 2010, 5:14 a.m. CST

    Mirren is doing another gender-bender in the Arthur remake


    I read it on Aint it Cool News

  • June 4, 2010, 6:08 a.m. CST

    I'm Glad He Mentioned ahowAwful Across The Universe Was

    by Crow3711

    Cause the people who liked that are fucking morons who liked it only because it was a beetles musical by HAD to be good, right? No reason to think for yourself. What a horrible piece of shut that was.

  •<br /><br />Take a look at the pic, and admit it.<br /><br />

  • June 4, 2010, 6:49 a.m. CST

    This woman put those hags on SATC to shame!

    by HollywoodHellraiser

    Helen Mirren is hot!!! Megan Fox can only hope she'll get as much buzz when she gets that age!

  • June 4, 2010, 7:02 a.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    I pity you. Thank goodness o'm not you. and what was the deal about your coment above? You are looking for some action? You want some? you are desperately looking for it? Wrong door, pal, keep trying, good luck. And go buy some taste in movies, while you are out in the streets.

  • June 4, 2010, 7:07 a.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    Wow!! Just... wow!! Helen Mirren: A GILF For All Seasons!

  • June 4, 2010, 7:08 a.m. CST

    @AsimovLives - Yup. I'd hit it like the fist of an angry god.

    by V'Shael

    And I'd be telling strangers on the street about it afterwards.

  • June 4, 2010, 7:09 a.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    No, you clown... i mean, Crow. People liked ACROSS THE UNIVERSE because it's a damn good movie. I pity the fools who can't understand why. Go watch TRASHFORMERS 2 instead, or whatever the fuck.

  • June 4, 2010, 7:28 a.m. CST

    Across the Universe was a fascinating failure

    by mortsleam

    She tried her best, and though the visuals were sometimes stunning, Taymor missed the true depth and emotion of the Beatles work. For every piece that got it right (Let It Be, Come Together) there are three that fall flat and some that are downright laughable. Most of her visual allusions were thuddingly literal-minded. A group of soldiers singing "She's so heavy" as they're carrying the Statue of Liberty through Viet Nam ranks as the silliest sight ever conceived by someone who is not still in middle school. And "Dear Prudence won't you come out to play" sung to a lesbian who is literally trapped in a closet? Horribly stupid. I Am The Walrus as a direct Ken Kesey tribute would've been good if not for the presence of Bono. <p>A shame, really, because I loved Titus and even Lion King on Broadway, and was expecting great things. But there was too little great and too much godawful. It took the brilliance of Beatles music and turned it into background noise for a commercial about vapid modern teen actors pretending to be pretentious hippies. <p>And yet, it's STILL better than the BeeGee's Sgt. Pepper Disco Movie. <p>Taymor and Helen Mirren and the Tempest? I'm there, but with reservations.

  • June 4, 2010, 7:29 a.m. CST

    Theatrical Adaptation?

    by Scalvador

    I'm pretty sure it was written with theatre in mind...

  • June 4, 2010, 7:33 a.m. CST

    Jesus, we all know she's hot for her age.

    by Nice Marmot

    And we've all seen the damn bikini shot. Give it a rest . . .

  • June 4, 2010, 7:44 a.m. CST


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  • June 4, 2010, 8:11 a.m. CST

    New Expendables teaser is out

    by SkyRocket

  • June 4, 2010, 8:12 a.m. CST

    How slow is AICN?

    by Lemure_v2

    Empire is already reporting that Hawkeye will be in The Avengers.

  • June 4, 2010, 8:16 a.m. CST

    About Reeve...

    by Anna Valerious

    He's more of a musician, and he's landed the role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man in Taymor's upcoming stage show.

  • June 4, 2010, 8:25 a.m. CST

    AICN already said Hawkeye is in the Avengers, no?

    by V'Shael

    And AICN also had the casting of the part (though I think they said it was rumoured only). Or am I misremembering?

  • June 4, 2010, 8:52 a.m. CST

    That entire headline is shit I don't care about

    by JackSlater4

  • June 4, 2010, 9:26 a.m. CST

    Savage Messiah

    by Rameses

    Helen looked gorgeous in that..what a body

  • June 4, 2010, 9:41 a.m. CST


    by teethgnasher

    Neil Gaiman. discuss

  • June 4, 2010, 9:47 a.m. CST

    Mortsleam - Exactly Spot On. AsimovLives - Still a Douche

    by Crow3711

    And I refused to see transformers 2. Don't even go that route with insulting me. I hate shit movies with no plot. Which is exactly what Across The Universe was. Insipid, silly, uneven, sellout material created ONLY because the beatles are cultural icons beyond all others. Read MortSleams post, so I don't have to repeat everything. Taymor did do her best, some of the visuals were great, etc. But, overall, silly empty nonsense. The statue of liberty acne with she's so heavy alone destroys the crediility of the movies it's so insanely fucking stupid and heavy handed. If you dot think that's heavy handed, you're even dumber than I already assumed from your incessant Fuck Jar Jar posts and all the other stupid shit you waste your life doing. I'm still gonna watch the shit out of this Tempest. I love shakespeare, I still tentatively respect taymor, and mitten is gonna bring it. That doesn't change how insanely stale and stupid AtU was. You, and every other teenage girl out there who thinks they were "supposed" to like it can go right ahead. I'm just saying, be more critical of heavy handed, emotionless un-clever nonsense. And maybe less critical of Jar Jar. Cause it's pathetic.

  • June 4, 2010, 10:15 a.m. CST

    The Tempest, Titus & Across The Universe

    by R_Nathan

    "The Tempest" is a hard play to perform because the conflict doesn't work. Prospero is like Superman; he's so powerful that his enemies never pose a serious threat to him. I had some problems with Taymor's "Titus." I thought she took it a little too seriously. I think it's a potboiler melodrama, rather than a true tragedy. I did enjoy much of "Across the Universe," probably because I grew up in that era - including some time in New York.

  • June 4, 2010, 11:45 a.m. CST

    the truth

    by BUXBOMB

    Across the Universe is a SOLID movie. All overly critical douche bags need to check their opinions at the door and enjoy it for what it was. For the budget Taymor had, the visuals were stunning, the performances (singing and acting) were all strong, the story came together seamlessly, there was a shit load of nicely placed beatles references, and it was fun. Plain and simple. It was an enjoyable movie, and the scenes that really nailed it (Let it Be), were off the charts. As for mortsleam mocking the dear prudence song and it's lesiban locked in the closet...for your info, the song was originally written for a girl name prudence who locked herself in her room while the beatles were staying in india. So it wasn't some metaphor for being "trapped in the closet," it was an homage to the origins of the song. Enjoy it for what it was. Don't pick it apart.

  • June 4, 2010, 11:56 a.m. CST

    Key Lime Productions / TEMPEST

    by keylimepirate

    I've always enjoyed Taymor's adaptations. Mazursky's Tempest was well done. And this summer there's another stab emerging based on the last great work:

  • June 4, 2010, 12:16 p.m. CST

    no mention of Lion King?

    by oisin5199

    People forget that Taymour was a theatrical director first, and Lion King was much later even. So if anyone can pull this off she can. As far as Across the Universe, it was a fascinating experiment that shined in parts and failed miserably in others. They weren't meant to be music videos, or interpretations of the 'meaning behind the songs' but simply an application of the songs to the particular story she chose to tell. But like it or not, anyone who says that those who do like it have to 'take a long at your life' or something like that is a complete and utter douchebag.

  • June 4, 2010, 12:41 p.m. CST

    Taymor is a hack

    by Chesterfield Slacks

    Everyone in New York and Hollywood knows this. She has the pull to attract top talent to her projects, and relies on them creating the visuals since she is known for not having a clue how to put a movie together. Check her IMDB. She rarely ever gets the same artistic crew to work with her again. I know way too many people who have been totally burned out by her "lack of vision". Go back to theater and do your giant-heads-on-sticks business and leave the filmmaking to people who are trained.

  • June 4, 2010, 3:08 p.m. CST

    hey Harry

    by HapaPapa72

    While you're there, do us all a favor and kill Moron van der sloot. God sure wasted some skin on that guy. And hey---Shakespearean news beats Sex and the City news ANY DAY.

  • June 4, 2010, 8:38 p.m. CST

    Skeptical about the ProsperA change myself

    by Jaka

    But I'm also really looking forward to checking out The Tempest. Hard to rate them, but off the top of my head I'd say The Tempest is 3rd or 4th on my list of favorite Shakespeare works.

  • June 4, 2010, 8:40 p.m. CST

    Hot for her age...

    by Jaka

    ...whatever. She was fine as fuck when she was younger, and she got naked A LOT. I'm really not into the geriatric set, though. So I don't get the drooling over her that's been going on here lately. She's an old lady.

  • June 5, 2010, 10:53 a.m. CST

    Gee, Dear Prudence was based on someone?

    by mortsleam

    You mean, Prudence Farrow, Mia Farrow's sister, who became hyper-sensitized from constant meditation and refused to leave her bungalow in Rishikesh? Yeah, I knew that. What I'm objecting to is the moronic application of the song to the lesbian teen who was stuck "in the closet" and has to "come out" to play. She didn't get in there from meditating too much. She locked herself in because she was sad that a half-assed Janis Joplin impression didn't like her back and was dating a half-assed Jimi Hendrix impression. It took the nuances and meaning of the song and turned them into lame pun.