Venice 2010: Fresh Images From Julie Taymor's THE TEMPEST

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Having been fortunate enough to grow up within striking distance of one of the great Shakespeare festivals in the world and to have spent my entire school career with teachers smart enough to take me there every year, I have never been one of those who believed that the works of William Shakespeare were in any way boring or dull. No, in the right hands this stuff remains every bit as potent as the day it was written and Julie Taymor's are definitely the right hands, which makes it very odd that we've neglected to comment on her upcoming screen adaptation of The Tempest until now.

One of the world's foremost visual stylists, Taymor is so good that she made the stage musical version of The Lion King not just tolerable, but actually enjoyable - yes, I saw it - and with material as rich and complex as Shakespeare to match her visual creativity she is an outright master. See her Titus for proof of that.

And with The Tempest now in Venice, some new images - at least new to me - have turned up to show off her eclectic cast, a cast that includes Helen Mirren, Alfred Molina, Djimon Hounsou, Chris Cooper, Alan Cumming and Russell Brand. One of these things is not like the others, obviously, and I'm more than a little curious to see what Taymor is doing with Brand in there. Check the images below.
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