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The Morning Roundup: Louis Armstrong Biopic, Brave New World Adaptation, and … Prospero’s a Chick?

Written by: Mike Leader, Special to CC2K

ImageThis morning we've got news involving manifold adaptations: stage-to-screen, book-to-film and trumpet-to-biopic! Plus the usual scoops, pics and trailers!

– We here at CC2K love Shakespeare on film, we also love The Tempest (check out the review of the current 'stellar' Off-Broadway production here). So we're stoked to hear that there is a new adaptation of The Bard's magical comedy, set to start filming in Hawaii in November. The film will be directed by Julie Taymor (noted for 1999's Titus, and 2002's Oscar-winning Frida). As expected, the cast is exceptionally strong (featuring Jeremy Irons, Djimon Hounsou, Alfred Molina and, er, Russell Brand), but the unique twist brought to the project is that the role of Prospero has been rechristened Prospera, and will be played by Helen Mirren. Performances and adaptations of Shakespeare have a long tradition of fiddling around with roles and context, often involving gender. One example that springs to mind is Deborah Warner's 1995 version of Richard II, which featured Fiona Shaw in the title role. However, Shaw still played a male King; Taymor's Tempest has been rewritten with a female lead in mind which, to my knowledge, is quite a novel idea. It is unknown yet how this will tie into the story of betrayal, empowerment, slavery and manipulation. I'm sure the film will turn some heads when it is finally released.

– Tenuously linked to The Tempest… Ridley Scott has revealed that he is working on an adaptation of Aldous Huxley's 1932 novel Brave New World, in collaboration with Leonardo DiCaprio. The book is a classic in the dystopian science fiction genre, and tells of a future defined by mass-production, sexual conditioning and ignorant hedonism; where Henry Ford and Sigmund Freud are worshipped as gods, children engage in 'sexual play', books (notably the works of Shakespeare) are widely banned and the populace are almost perpetually doped up on the drug Soma. Scott admits that this project is very much in the early stages, but this might be something to look out for.

– In other film news, it has been announced that Forest Whitaker will direct and star in a biopic of legendary jazz trumpeter and singer Louis Armstrong, called Wonderful World. Ron Bass (Rain Man, Waiting to Exhale, Dangerous Minds) is writing the screenplay. Whitaker knows his jazz, having played Charlie Parker in 1988's Clint Eastwood-directed Bird. Let's hope Wonderful World will be similarly effective and respectful.

– Also, Dominic Monaghan and Freddy Rodriguez have been added to the cast of upcoming horror-thriller Fortuna.

– To finish up, we've got an image from the set of Terminator: Salvation [thanks Cinemablend!]…




…and a trailer for the upcoming Xbox 360/PS3 RPG The Last Remnant, developed by Square-Enix.