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Swarovski Launches Film Company: First Project is 'Romeo and Juliet,' Starring Hailee Steinfeld

Photo of Matt Mueller By Matt Mueller | Thompson on Hollywood May 20, 2012 at 2:04PM

Swarovski is a name fairly well linked to the twin bastions of cinema and glamour; over the years the crystal company has collaborated on costume and jewelry design for everything from "The Wizard Of Oz" to the recent "Mirror Mirror."

Fellowes adds, “It doesn’t feel like product placement; it’s organic and natural. It was interesting watching Nadja’s craftsmen coming into the costume department and showing the costume makers how to put the crystals onto Juliet’s ball dress and the like.”

In order to get the film to appeal to a young audience who likely view Shakespeare as tedious homework, Fellowes says he’s updated the language. “I’ve left it Shakespearean but opened it up so that it’s not obscure,” says the British scribe. “We’ve made sure to preserve all the famous stuff. I wanted to make it user friendly with a narrative that moves along quickly so that it can hopefully open up Shakespeare’s play to a whole new generation who’ve never had the traditional Romeo And Juliet.”

The film’s budget is $17 million, of which Swarovski has put up a “substantial” proportion, and Fellowes and Swarovski expect to see director Carlo Carlei’s first cut in June. Several territories have already been sold, including the UK, Australia and Germany, a promo reel was shown to other buyers yesterday and the plan is for a 2013 release. The company has several other projects in development, including an India-set love story entitled Paani which was announced in Cannes two years ago with Shekar Kapur attached to direct, but none are likely to move into production until after "Romeo and Juliet" is released.

This article is related to: Cannes Film Festival, Festivals, Festivals

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.