Romeo and Juliet is pretty widely accepted as the most famous love story of all time, which is why there are so many screen adaptations and references to the tragedy in literature and pop culture. While it’s often seen as some sort of ideal love story, I think the tag line for the newest adaptation, “The most dangerous love story ever told.”, shows that the creators see things a little more clearly.
When I first heard that Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) was playing the iconic role of Juliet in a new adaptation due out on October 11, I wasn’t sure what to think of it. Did director Carlo Carlei figure out a way to make the story work in a world with cell phones? Did Julian Fellowes write something brilliant to pull it all together? Wait, Julian Fellowes? That guy is responsible for Downton Abbey and won an Academy Award for writing Gosford Park. And Carlo Calrei turns out to be an Italian native. They’re not going for something new here, they’re going to make a fantastic period piece and I don’t know how to explain my excitement to you.
Here, watch the official trailer and I think you’ll understand.
The combination of the amazing sets and cinematography with Ed Westwick (Gossip Girl) and Damian Lewis’ (Homeland) bursts of anger from the Capulet family have me assured that this will be a fantastic telling of the immortal tale and all of the danger that it possesses. Steinfeld shows the naïveté that we expect from Juliet without coming off as stupid and Douglas Booth’s Romeo appears to be as pensive and slightly foolish as the character has always appeared to me. Paul Giamatti (Sideways) is a great fit for the wise but then panicked Friar Laurence, and I can’t wait to see more of Kodi Smit-McPhee (ParaNorman, The Road) as Benvolio, who happens to be one of my favorite Montagues, but is nothing but a flash in the trailer.
While the 1968 Franco Zeffirelli version of Romeo and Juliet was true to the setting, many people prefer Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 version with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes in the title roles. The latter had a very different setting, but was actually truer to the original text than previous film adaptations. With a show like Downton Abbey being so popular right now, it seems to me that audiences are ready for more period pieces, so why not use one of the most iconic stories? With the authenticity to the original play, clear imagery and slightly re-worked Shakespearean language, I think this will be a fantastic compromise of the two most notorious screen adaptations.
I expect that many people will be interested when it hits theatres in October. Tell us what you think of the trailer in comments. Do you think it’s time for another telling of Romeo and Juliet? What do you think of the actors involved? You can tell I’m excited, but I want to know what you’re thinking too!