THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT -- August 1998
SHAKE, RATTLE AND ROLES:Tony winner Julie Taymor has cast Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins as her Titus in her film version of Titus Andronicus, which hits the cameras in Rome in October. She previously helmed a stage version of the Shakespearean play in 1994 at New York's Theatre for a New Audience. John Turturro and Kristin Scott Thomas have been rumored for other roles. . . . R & J, the all-male prep-school rendering of Romeo and Juliet which earlier this summer became the longest-running version of that play to be done in New York, will be committed to film this fall by its adapter-director, Joe Calarco. . . . As for that Bard-bombardment at bookstores mentioned here a few months ago, it continues: For those with a taste for cultivated cursing, Cader Books/Andrews McMeel has come up with the perfect item: Naughty Shakespeare: The Lascivious Lines, Offensive Oaths, and Politically Incorrect Notions of the Baddest Bard of All; Kurt Daw contributes an impressive double-entry, via Heinemann: Acting Shakespeare and His Contemporaries and A Guide to Scenes and Monologues from Shakespeare and His Contemporaries, and, finally, most elaborate of all, is Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Tragedies, and Histories: A Facsimile of the First Folio, edited by Doug Moston, from Routledge. . . . If the sumptuous Twelfth Night that Nicholas Hytner directed at Lincoln Center -- with Brian Murray, Helen Hunt, Paul Rudd, Kyra Sedgwick, Philip Bosco and Max Wright - requires a cinematic chaser, you might check out the video stores for the 1996 film version that Trevor Nunn did with Imogen Stubbs, Helena Bonham Carter, Toby Stephens (son of Maggie Smith and the late Robert Stephens), Ben Kingsley and Nigel Hawthorne. DULY NOTED: Sheet music has never been as attractively presented as it is in The Illustrated Rodgers and Hammerstein Songbook, a handsomely illustrated tome from Universe Publishing. Some 30 of the team's big hits are accompanied by facts and plots on the shows in which they were introduced. . . . A five-minute musical-number outtake, never before seen, found its way back into Judy Holliday's last film, Bells Are Ringing, when it rang up the curtain on Film Forum's two-week revival of the filmusicals of Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Concluding the series was their first collaboration, On the Town, which director George C. Wolfe is putting in rehearsal after Labor Day for a full-blown Broadway revival.
STAGE TO SCREEN: No grass is growing on John Leguizamo: The same month his one-man show, Freak, lost Tonys for Best Play and Best Actor, the HBO movie version got underway at the Cort Theatre, with none other than Spike Lee sitting in the director's chair. The book version of this show is already available via Riverhead Books. . . Another actor who wrote his own stage-to-screen ticket is Laurence Fishburne, who just inked a deal with Shooting Galley to produce, direct and star in the screen version of his 1995 Off-Broadway hit, Riff-Raff.
-- By Harry Haun