- Cast: Helen Mirren, Alfred Molina, Russell Brand, Alan Cumming, Djimon Hounsou, Chris Cooper, Ben Whishaw, David Strathairn, Felicity Jones, Jahnel Curfman, Tom Conti, Reeve Carney, Jude Akuwidike, Kevin Cannon
- Director: Julie Taymor
- Writers: Julie Taymor, William Shakespeare
- Producers: Robert Chartoff, Lynn Hendee, Jason K. Lau, Julia Taylor-Stanley, Julie Taymor
- Associate Producer: Phyllis LaVoie
- Executive Producers: Rohit Khattar, Deborah Y. Lau, Greg Strasburg, Ronald M. Bozman, Beaux Carson, John C. Ching
- Art Directions: Alex DiGerlando, Kim Jennings
- Casting: Gillian Hawser
- Costume Design: Sandy Powell
- D.O.P.: Stuart Dryburgh
- Editor: Françoise Bonnot
- Makeup: Judy Chin
- Music: Elliot Goldenthal
- Production Design: Mark Friedberg
- Set Decoration: Alyssa Winter
In Shakespeare's fantastical thriller the magician Prospero orchestrates spirits, monsters, a grief-stricken king, a wise old councillor, two treacherous brothers and a storm at sea into a fantastical conspiracy bringing banishment, sorcery and shipwreck into the lives of two hapless lovers to stir and seal their fate. Here Prospero takes female form as Prospera, giving her journey of vengeance and self-discovery a wholly new resonance. As Prospera breaks her magical staff against an entrancing volcanic landscape at the end of her heroic quest, this poignant story of love and forgiveness translates into a riveting and filmic mystical tale, for our own times
- Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
- Filming Locations: Hawaii, USA
- MPAA Warning: Some nudity, suggestive content and scary images
- Production Budget: $20 million
- Production Companies: Touchstone Pictures, Miramax Films, Chartoff Productions, TalkStory Productions
- Production Schedule: November 2008 - 18 December 2009
2010 Guide Analysis: "One of Shakespeare's most famous but least cinematically adapted plays gets an all star feature film treatment from famed stage director Julie Taymor. The project marks the second time Taymor ("Across the Universe," "Frida") has adapted the Bard, the first being 1999's "Titus" based on the goriest of his works "Titus Andronicus". Despite critical success and all-star cast, that film financially was a flop.
Yet Taymor's films have always been striking and admittedly indulgent, which generally makes them memorable. "Titus" with its strange anachronistic fusion of Ancient Rome, Mussolini's Italy and the modern day worked better than it had any right to. 'Tempest' with its elements of sorcery and romance seem even more in tune with Taymor's style, while the gender switch of Prospero to Prospera so that Helen Mirren could play the role is one of those surprises that has already infuriated traditionalists but will excite others with how it shifts the relationship dynamics of one of English literature's most famous characters.
Shot in Hawaii through late 2008 and early last year on a $20 million budget (same as "Titus"), the film was expected to be released before Christmas 2009 but more extensive special effects than expected have pushed it back to sometime in 2010. The casting is impeccable, along with those mentioned above there's also Alan Cumming, Ben Whishaw, David Strathairn, Felicity Jones and Tom Conti.
While 1956's "Forbidden Planet" is the most famous cinematic spin on the story, Peter Greenaway's 1991 film "Prospero's Books" was the last significant attempt at an adaptation. It was generally dismissed aside from the work of the late Sir John Gielgud whose stage performances as Prospero is still considered the benchmark for any actor attempting the character. Taymor's films rarely form a consensus of opinion, but the reactions are never dull which should make this one of the more discussed and debated about arthouse films of the year."