I could barely contain myself back in 2008 when news hit that Julie Taymor, director of the excellent Titus, was heading back to the world of Shakespeare. The play in question was The Tempest, and it was coming with one big, gender-bending twist: Prospero was being changed into a woman so that Helen Mirren could play the part. While the film wrapped a while ago, recent turmoil with Miramax put big question marks in the future of the feature. Now, USAToday reports that the film will hit theaters this December through Disney, and have offered up our first look at Helen Mirren's Prospera. (Check it out to the right, and head over there for a high-res version.)

That's definitely Prospero -- older and in tattered clothes, but exuding a wild strength, and by the looks of this picture, worthy firestarting. But things are changed just a wee bit. In William's tale, Prospero is the Duke of Milan, too busy with magic to see that his brother is planning to usurp him. He and his young daughter are cast out, and they live out their days on a mostly deserted island as he gets magically stronger and whips up a Tempest to bring his backstabbers to the island's shore.

Taymor's morphed it just a bit. Prospera is the wife of the duke, and when he dies, his brother Antonio (Chris Cooper!) accuses her of being a witch. Taymor says: "You know Helen Mirren. When she invokes the black powers, she's got the rage. She's got it all."

This is going to be one hell of a film...
categories Cinematical