In Venice, Helen Mirren is Prospera in new take on 'Tempest'

11th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Shakespeare's Prospero changed his sex Saturday as the Venice film festival wrapped up with Julie Taymor's adaptation of "The Tempest" starring Helen Mirren.

Mirren, who won an Oscar for "The Queen" (2006), said she and Taymor both wanted to make "The Tempest" with her in the lead role, having "had the same idea in a parallel universe without ever talking about it."

Apart from the requisite pronoun swaps, Mirren insisted that the Bard's last play -- penned 400 years ago -- "could be played by a woman without changing a word."

Discussing the filming on a Hawaiian island, Taymor said: "There's something magnificent when you put characters on an island, it creates incredible turmoil and bubbling."

Noting that some 700 films have been adapted from Shakespeare's plays, Mirren said he was "arguably the most prolific screenwriter alive or dead."

Shown out of competition, the film wrapped up the 11-day festival, which screened 79 full-length world premieres from 34 countries.

The jury led by US director Quentin Tarantino was to award the coveted Golden Lion later Saturday to one of 24 films vying for the top prize.

A Silver Lion for best director, Volpi prizes for best actor and actress, a special jury prize and a Marcello Mastroianni award for best young actor or actress are also among the awards.

© 2010 AFP

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