Mirren, Irons, Rush Caught In Tempest

Director Julie Taymor (“Across the Universe,” “Frida,” the Broadway adaptation of “The Lion King”) is assembling a stellar cast in a big-screen adaptation of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” for Miramax and Icon says The Hollywood Reporter.

Helen Mirren, Jeremy Irons, Djimon Hounsou, Russell Brand, Alfred Molina, Ben Wishaw and Felicity Jones are all set to star and Geoffrey Rush is in negotiations to join the project which begins shooting next month in Hawaii.

Taymor made her directorial debut on another Shakespeare adaptation – 1999’s “Titus”. That project took liberties with Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus” by adding scenes, removing certain dialogue, and fusing elements from different time periods – most notably Ancient Rome, Mussolini’s Italy and the present day.

This version of ‘Tempest’ will also take liberties, most notably the main character of Prospero, an exiled duke-turned-sorcerer, will become a woman named Prospera which Mirren will portray.

The story deals with Prospera and her magical island whose inhabitants include her daughter Miranda (Felicity Jones), deformed slave Caliban (Djimon Hounsou), and airy spirit Ariel (Ben Wishaw).

The shipwrecked crew full of Prospera’s enemies include the jester Trinculo (Russell Brand), drunken butler Stephano (Alfred Molina), royal adviser Gonzalo (Geoffrey Rush), and the King of Naples Alonso (Jeremy Irons).

Bob Chartoff, Lynn Hendee and Julia Taylor-Stanley are producing.