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Lesley Manville, Damian Lewis and Stellan Skarsgard Finalize Cast for ‘Romeo and Juliet’

Written by on February 3, 2012 

A new update has revealed the actors rounding out the cast of Carlo Carlei‘s Shakespeare adaptation of Romeo and Juliet; best actress nominee Lesley Manville, Homeland‘s Damian Lewis and Stellan Skarsgard have all finalized negotiations to provide their talents in the adaptation. [The Playlist]

These newcomers are welcomed by True Grit‘s Hailee Steinfeld, Douglas Booth as Romeo, as well as Paul Giamatti, Ed Westwick, and Kodi Smit-McPhee, who have been cast in various roles related to the two lovers. The trio will play Lady Capulet, Lord Capulet and Prince of Verona, respectively. Oscar-winning scribe, Julian Fellowes is writing the script, where he aims to stay true to the original, in matters of the time period.

When Fellowes talked with THR very recently, “[he] felt that it had been quite a long time since there had been a romantic, traditional rendition of the piece.” Here’s more of his thoughts below:

“People have made Romeo since then — and some very good ones — but they were set in modern Ohio or whatever. This isn’t that. This is the romantic medieval love story as conceived by Shakespeare. We felt that really what we needed was just to make it slightly more accessible to today’s generation. That, I hope, is all we’ve done. My dream would be that you watch it and you think you’ve watched the whole thing written by Shakespeare.”

Although I’m happy with this big casting news, I feel like this project is full of contradictions; first the project was described as a Romeo and Juliet for the Twilight generation, and now Fellowes is insisting on keeping it very medieval and Shakespearen — which is fine for people familiar with the somewhat difficult Shakespearen dialect. I’m afraid that if they maintain this very strict medieval aspect, they’ll loose a lot of interest from the generation they’re trying to appeal to.

What are your thoughts on this casting news? Do you think Fellowes is being too ambitious?

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