By Simon Dang | The Playlist February 2, 2012 at 1:17PM
Last year's Best Actress nominee Lesley Manville (for "Another Year"), "Homeland" star Damian Lewis and everyone's favorite character actor Stellan Skarsgard have rounded out the cast for Carlo Carlei's latest adaptation of Shakespeare's "Romeo And Juliet."
The trio will respectively play Lady Capulet, Lord Capulet and the Prince of Verona, joining a host of others already cast, including Natascha McElhone, Christian Cooke, Tomas Arana, Laura Morante and Leon Vitali. The film was scripted by Oscar-winning writer Julian Fellowes ("Gosford Park") which, while staying true to its original period setting, is aimed to attract younger audiences. Hailee Steinfeld and newcomer Douglas Booth star as the titular couple with Kodi Smit-McPhee as Benvolio, Ed Westwick as Tybalt and Paul Giamatti as Friar Laurence.
“We felt that it had been quite a long time since there had been a romantic, traditional rendition of the piece,” Fellowes, who is currently writing for the third season of hit, award-winning TV show "Downton Abbey," explained to THR. "People have made Romeo since then — and some very good ones — but they were set in modern Ohio or whatever. This isn’t that. This is the romantic medieval love story as conceived by Shakespeare. We felt that really what we needed was just to make it slightly more accessible to today’s generation. That, I hope, is all we’ve done. My dream would be that you watch it and you think you’ve watched the whole thing written by Shakespeare.”
Lensing began ten days ago in Italy with this version to be the first big Hollywood take since Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo + Juliet" in 1996, which, of course, starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes.