Romeo and Juliet opens in the UK on February 14th next year.
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, stars of the Twilight movies, could soon find themselves replaced in the affections of teenage movie-goers by a pair of star-crossed, old school lovers who represent true romance, if Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes has his way.
The Oscar-winning writer has adapted Shakespeare’s Romeo And Juliet for the big screen, and it has just completed filming in Italy, with hot stars-in-the-making Douglas Booth (praised for his Pip in the BBC’s recent Great Expectations) and Hailee Steinfeld, who led the True Grit re-boot.
Fellowes said he and Ileen Maisel, the film’s producer, felt strongly that there hadn’t been a traditional version of Shakespeare’s tragedy for more than four decades, since Franco Zeffirelli shot an adaptation in the late Sixties.
Baz Luhrmann’s Nineties take on the tale, of course, was set in the modern day.
‘Love is life-shaping and moving,’ said Fellowes, adding that it was key to the film that Romeo and Juliet be chaste until they are married.
‘We did feel it would be nice to have romantic, married love, and that purity was an important part of the film. They don’t make love until they have been married.
‘One always sounds like “Disgusted of Cheltenham” when you have these kind of discussions, but there is room for an understanding of the power of love.’
He said he was asked if there was a bed scene in the movie.
‘The person said “Oh, that’s typical of today” and I responded that actually, Shakespeare wrote it. I’m not inventing it. It’s there in the play.’
And anyway, the love scene is about as innocent as you can get because Ms Steinfeld is only 15 and doesn’t turn 16 until December. The director Carlo Carlei didn’t want her to do anything explicit.
Fellowes told me he has tried to preserve all the ‘famous moments’ but believes he has made it accessible and understandable, so the story is very clear.
Ms Maisel felt Romeo And Juliet could be seen as an antidote to the vampire and dystopian fiction that abounds now, referring to the Twilight films and the blockbuster The Hunger Games (starring Jennifer Lawrence, which opens today).
Read the full article at the Daily Mail.