Fans of the 'Bard, rest easy, the -starring Romeo and Juliet project has been snapped up by Relativity Media, and it's U.S release date is set for September 6th.
This project leaves me hot n' cold, if I'm honest. Steinfeld for me as Juliet is a BIG plus. She stole the spotlight in the Coens' already excellent True Grit and as a performer is astonishingly self-assured. Juliet for me is a headstrong, bashful and highly passionate young girl, all qualities Steinfeld can easily portray. It's also notable that Steinfeld is only 16 - Juliet has to undergo quite a painful transition into adulthood in the play, and it's actually refreshing to have someone of a similar age playing the part, rather than an older actress. And the rest of the cast is uniformly strong - , , , (a Chuck Bass Tybalt no less!). is more of an unknown quantity, but his Great Expectations Pip suggested he is more than eye candy.
It's just the overriding vibe of the project is giving me a distinct feeling of 'blah'. It's a more straight-up adaptation than the Luhrmann Romeo and Juliet, and is filmed in Mantua, the location in the play where Romeo himself was banished. It's just maybe too straight up - do I want to watch a group of young, aesthetically-pleasing actors running round an Italian city yielding swords, sporting Renaissance-chic and spouting Shakespearean? Couldn't we ground it in something more accessible? I absolutely don't want a Luhrmann style revision (that schtick really has been going on a decade too long) but something at the least. After all, Romeo and Juliet has been re-imagined a gazillion times already...it would be good to throw the dice on something a lil' leftfield. The trailer chronologically follows the standard tale, and I feel like I'm likely to get a competent - and that's all - version of an already highly trod tale.
Still, at its essence, Shakespeare lives and dies on the performances. And if can bring something out of this (highly promising) cast, then maybe this Ro n' Jo can make some waves. Check out the Romeo and Juliet trailer below:
Looking forward to Romeo and Juliet? Any ideas for how you think Romeo and Juliet can be reimagined successfully? Get in touch below!