Stage star and Oscar Winner Helen Mirren will take on the revised role of "Prospera" in Julie Taymor's upcoming film version of William Shakespeare's The Tempest, according to the entertainment trade paper The Hollywood Reporter.
Also included in the cast is Tony Award winner Jeremy Irons and Broadway favorite Alfred Molina, as well as Ben Whishaw, Felicity Jones and comic star Russell Brand. The Oscar winning actor Geoffrey Rush is also reported to be in negotiations to join the cast.
Taymor is the Broadway director of The Lion King, for which she won the Tony Award, and is currently preparing the Broadway musical version of the Marvel Comic's Spiderman. Her other films include Titus, based on Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, and Frida.
Mirren last appeared on Broadway in Dance of Death and is scheduled to return to the London stage next year in Phaedra. She won the Oscar for The Queen and has earned Emmy Awards for her work in Elizabeth I and Prime Suspect.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the film, being produced by Bob Chartoff, Lynn Hendee and Julia Taylor-Stanley, is seeking a November start date in Hawaii. Miramax has acquired the rights to all English-speaking territories; Icon is handling foreign sales.
Shakespeare's play mixes romance with fraternal politics and the supernatural. As revised for the screen, it will center around Prospera, her daughter Miranda (Jones) and a shipwrecked crew full of Prospera's enemies.
"The Tempest" is Taymor's second big-screen spin on Shakespeare she reimagined "Titus Andronicus" into the 1999 film "Titus."
The film also continues the strong relationship Taymor has developed with the Walt Disney, for which she directed the Broadway musical adaptation of "The Lion King," as well as the company owned art focused film division Miramax, which released the Taymor directed Frida.
x-posted to bwaydaily
So much fierceness. Helen alone, but then Russell Brand? Hellz. I love Julie Taymor even if she's a little too abstract, she is original and that is much appreciated.