Thursday, February 26, 2015

Shakespeare's (Modern) "Cymbeline" Heading To Theaters in March

A poster was just revealed for the upcoming movie release Cymbeline. (This movie was originally planned to be released in 2014 so there have been some delays and reworkings.) It's a modern (and very violent, it would seem) adaptation of Shakespeare's Cymbeline (which was also violent but had clearer fairy tale elements).

For those wondering why I'm putting something Shakespeare-related on the blog, Cymbeline is often regarded as "Shakespeare's Snow White" as it has so many of the key motifs and elements of the tale in a specific combination the parallel can easily be made. 

Did Shakespeare know the Snow White story or one of the many variants? Although it seems unlikely that he did, considering the timeline of certain collections with regard to Shakespeare's own dates, the Decameron is listed among his sources when creating the play and may have been one of those texts also seen by the Grimm Brothers in their studies (I haven't looked at this very much in depth but this discussion was started long ago on the SurLaLune boards HERE).

With regard to the upcoming movie, will any Snow White variant be detectable? Beyond the basic set-up of jealous "queen", huntsman and the girl finding her way through grit and wit and possibly a death-like sleep, I'd be surprised if the usual Snow White parallels remain, though you never know. If they stuck closely to Shakespeare's Cymbeline, there will be more classic fairy tale elements there than you'd ever think from the poster above. (You can read a break down of the similarities between Cymbeline, Snow White, Othello and King Lear by Quill and Qwerty HERE.) An interesting note is that the film was titled Anarchy for a short while but is back to being Cymbeline. That should give a few clues about the film right there.
Ethan Hawke (Edit FTNH: who did the modern day New York update of Hamlet with the same director) co-stars with Ed Harris as two players caught up in the middle of a war between dirty cops and an outlaw biker gang which forces a drug kingpin (Harris) to desperate measures. The ensemble cast includes Milla Jovovich (“Resident Evil” films), John Leguizamo, Dakota Johnson (Fifty Shades of Grey), Penn Badgley, Anton Yelchin, Bill Pullman and Delroy Lindo. 
Cymbeline will be released in select cities on March13, 2015, and will be rated R.

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