Those of you who are familiar with this site know that I cannot resist posting any news that deals with Shakespeare film adaptations (my senior year Honors project in college was a 30-page paper comparing Olivier’s Hamlet to Michael Almereyda’s Hamlet). Even though there is a plethora of Shakespeare film adaptations, in my opinion there can never be enough.
The latest news regarding the Bard on film is that Gerard Butler has joined the cast of the upcoming adaptation of Coriolanus, the vengeful tale of a fallen Roman military hero. The screenplay is to be adapted by John Logan and directed by Ralph Fiennes in his premiere behind the camera. Fiennes will also be playing the titular hero along with a cast that already includes Vanessa Redgrave, William Hurt, and Jessica Chastain. There is no word yet which part is in store for Butler, Hurt, or Chastain, but Redgrave will be playing Coriolanus’ mother Volumnia.
This is one of those Shakespeare adaptations that has the opportunity to really be great. It’s not one of Shakespeare’s most popular works, so it has the opportunity to introduce audiences to something new. Also, one of the main themes of the film is the corruption and inaction of the Roman bureaucracy. Parallels could easily be established between the Roman senators who exile Coriolanus and the U.S. Senators who chastise any one who attempts to bring about change, or actually accomplish something. Mind you, Fiennes is British so an analogy of the U.S. political system is unlikely, but nevertheless a possibility.
I’m excited for this project and think that Butler is a fine addition to the cast. Personally I think he would excel as one of the military villains, particularly the double crossing Tullus Aufidius who pulls an Iago on Coriolanus. The film is in need of some financing and more production details are sure to surface in the future.
Coriolanus is scheduled for release in 2010.