Anthony Hopkins has been cast in the title role of Titus, director Julie Taymor's long-planned film adaptation of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus. M.J. Peckos, of the Overseas Film Group, which is distributing the film, said that no other casting had been set, but Kristin Scott Thomas and John Turturro have been mentioned for other roles.
The movie is being financed by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen's Clear Blue Sky Productions and the U.K.-based N.D.F. International. Pre-production on the film has begun and shooting will commence in Rome this fall. The film will be released sometime in 1999. Peckos, who is currently at the Cannes Film Festival selling the picture, would not reveal the budget.
Other creative personnel include Dante Ferretti (Kundun), who will be the production designer; costume designer Milena Canonera (Chariots of Fire); and Taymor's longtime collaborator Elliot Goldenthal (Juan Darien, Interview With the Vampire), who will compose the music.
Taymor, whose career has skyrocketed since her Broadway staging of Disney's The Lion King, previously mounted a stage version of Titus Andronicus in 1994 at New York's Theatre for a New Audience. Hopkins has appeared in such films as The Remains of the Day, Amistad, and The Silence of the Lambs, for which he won an Oscar.
-- By Robert Simonson