Julie Taymor’s “The Tempest” didn’t turnout to be what everyone at the old Miramax and Walt Disney Studios hoped for. Even after a gala opening at the Venice Film Festival and a centerpiece screening at the New York Film Festival, the adaptation of Shakespeare’s famous play received exceptionally tepid reviews. Awards season hopes dashed long ago, the film received only a 41 on Metacritic and a putrid 26% on Rotten Tomatoes when it opened in limited release Friday. One of the film’s stars who will leave the production unscathed, however, is Dame Helen Mirren.
Speaking to the Oscar winner last week in Los Angeles, Mirren was still jazzed about her collaboration with Taymor as we discussed about the origins of the project (a Hollywood party) and, moreover, one of her co-stars, Russell Brand. The British comedian displays some fine and unexpected dramatic acting chops in the film — something not lost on Mirren. In fact, she’s gotten to know Brand quite well on their follow up film, a remake of the 1981 comedy “Arthur.” And, if “The Tempest” fails to light a fire at the box office (which appears to be the case), she can always look back at the impressive success of “Red” this fall as a 2010 highlight.
To check out my interview with Mirren, watch the video embedded at the top of this post. For a peak at my chat with Brand, click here.
“The Tempest” is now playing in limited release.
Follow Gregory Ellwood and Awards Campaign on Twitter @HitFixGregory