Douglas Booth

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If you’re a product of the public school system in the United States, then you were probably subjected to “Romeo and Juliet” at some point. For me, it was in junior high school, with the highlight being that our teacher let us watch the 1968 Franco Zeffirelli version in class. And there was a double bonus when our teacher, who was instructed to fast-forward through the nude scene, accidentally stopped the tape right on actress Olivia Hussey’s breasts. These things happen. Of course Zeffirelli’s film was meant to be an earnest and straightforward adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, using the same language from Shakespeare’s original. But writer Julian Fellows, of Gosford Park and Downton Abbey, wanted to change the language for this adaptation. “We were determined not to exclude that same young audience, those same young men and and women whose discovery of love, a discovery which is new for every generation, is being examined here.” Which is pretty much just flowery words that mean, “Yeah, we pretty much rewrote this thing in the hopes of getting younger audiences into the theaters and keeping them awake.” Unfortunately, it also means that many of Shakespeare’s most famous dramatic moments have been undercut or dampened, and the end result is that the film feels more like the Cliff Notes than the play. The gist of Shakespeare’s words are there, but the life has been sucked right out of them.

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Romeo and Juliet

Yes, Carlo Carlei‘s take on Romeo and Juliet does have a few things going for it – most notably, a stellar cast that includes Hailee Steinfeld as Juliet and Douglas Booth as Romeo, along with Paul Giamatti, Damian Lewis, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Stellan Skarsgard, and apparently Ed Westwick just for scenery-chewing funsies – but even the best cast in the world can’t avoid one major, glaring problem with this new version of Shakespeare’s classic. Namely, that this one just seems utterly pointless. Carlei’s vision is a classic one – it doesn’t have the flash of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, or the revisionist fun of something like West Side Story – but it also doesn’t even attempt to improve upon the gold standard traditionalist take of Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 version. Why, exactly, is this being made now? Are kids today really in need of a just-barely-updated version of the film to watch during English class post-Shakespeare reading? Well, probably. Enjoy some, well, totally mediocre delights with the first trailer for the new Romeo and Juliet after the break.

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Bill Murray at Cannes 2012

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting roundup that’s got news about what weird, clown-related thing Peter Stormare is going to do next. Read on for the juicy details. If your name is Dan Aykroyd or Ivan Reitman, then Bill Murray has been spending the last ten years or so trying to convince you that he doesn’t read scripts. That’s got to sting, because Deadline has a new report that proves this to be balderdash. Murray read Ted Melfi’s script for St. Vincent De Van Nuys and identified with the writer’s work so much that he called him up and invited him out for a drive. One negotiating process later and Murray is reportedly ready to sign on to star in the film, which is about a cantankerous old coot who bonds with a twelve-year-old boy over rounds of drinking, gambling, and generally despicable behavior. Sounds like it’s going to be a hoot.

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While it’s seeming more and more possible that Darren Aronofsky won’t make the wish of flood enthusiasts everywhere come true by casting someone to play a giant wave or two (or three, or four…) in his Noah, he’s making up for that hideous oversight with a stellar cast that so far includes Russell Crowe, Saoirse Ronan, Douglas Booth, Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ray Winstone, and (probably) Jennifer Connolly – a litany of talents that he’s just rounded out with no less than Sir Anthony Hopkins. Aronofsky himself announced the news this morning via his Twitter, in a tweet that reads: “i’m honored to be working with the great sir anthony hopkins. we just added him to the stellar cast of ‪#Noah‬. ‪#methuselahlives‬” Methuselah lives! Hurray! Wait, who is Methuselah again?

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Darren Aronofsky‘s epic Noah continues to fill out, with Deadline Woodland Hills now reporting that Emma Watson is in talks to come on board the project as the love interest, Ila, of one of Noah’s (Russell Crowe) sons. The outlet reports that Ila will develop “a close relationship” with Douglas Booth‘s character, Shem. There’s a bit of confusion here, as Deadline’s post about the casting (which we reported earlier this week) indicated that Logan Lerman‘s Ham would be the one receiving a love interest, and this news says that it will in fact be Booth who will get the girl. Weirdly enough, this might not be a case of Deadline screwing up which son is which – different versions of the Noah story actually mix up the order of the sons (there’s even another one, Japheth), and that could certainly be a part of the problem. And that’s about as far as my lapsed Catholicism can take me on this one. The film is still in need of both a wife and a nemesis for Noah.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It doesn’t even know anymore… Megan Fox and John C. Reilly are tonight’s lead story. The choice of lead image was bound to be a sexy one. And as you can see, I believe I’ve made the right choice. He’s almost too sexy. Anyway, he’ll be starring alongside the outcast Transformers actress in Sacha Baron Cohen’s The Dictator. No word on what role either will play in the story of a Middle Eastern dictator who ends up in the U.S., where no one cares who he is.

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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