SWITCH.
MEMBER SIGN IN
    
Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.

SEARCH RESULTS FOR
JOIN NOW.

Keep up to date with your favourite artists and new music with SWITCH. It's easy - just follow these steps:

1JOIN up - it's simple and free
 
2FOLLOW artists and films
 
3TRACK events on your personalised calendar
 
FEATURE:

ROMEO + JULIET


20 years on


By Kate Smith, 30th October 2016
SWITCH logoFeature. 

ROMEO + JULIET

|

20 YEARS ON


RELEASE DATE: 01/11/1996
RUN TIME: 2HR 0MIN
CAST: LEONARDO DICAPRIO
CLAIRE DANES
JOHN LEGUIZAMO
HAROLD PERRINEAU
PAUL RUDD
DIRECTOR: BAZ LUHRMANN
WRITERS: CRAIG PEARCE
BAZ LUHRMANN
PRODUCERS: BAZ LUHRMANN
GABRIELLA MARTINELLI
SCORE: NELLEE HOOPER
SWITCH logo
FAST FACTS.
Kate Smith
By Kate Smith, 30th October 2016
High school English students will either rue or worship this date. 20 years ago today, Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Romeo + Juliet’ was unleashed on the world. Both critically acclaimed and derided, it skyrocketed the careers of its two leads, and put Luhrmann well and truly on the international map.

Before 1996, Leonardo DiCaprio was known almost exclusively for playing the title character’s mentally-challenged brother in ‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape’. Following the release of ‘R+J’, DiCaprio was cast in ‘Titanic’, ‘The Beach,’ ‘The Aviator’... you get the drift. By 1996 Claire Danes already had a developing career, but her role as Juliet was her major breakthrough. While she hasn’t enjoyed the meteoric rise of DiCaprio, she’s still a household name and might not have been had she never played Juliet.

'ROMEO + JULIET' TRAILER

But the real star of ‘Romeo + Juliet’ was Luhrmann. In 1992, Luhrmann wrote and directed ‘Strictly Ballroom’ which is still one of the best Australian films ever made. ‘Strictly Ballroom’ is the earliest entry on Luhrmann’s résumé. A critical darling, it got Baz noticed enough to start on his Shakespeare adaptation that English students love/hate. After ‘R+J’, Luhrmann directed ‘Moulin Rouge’ and ‘Australia’ with Nicole Kidman, and in 2013, reunited with DiCaprio to direct another adaptation: ‘The Great Gatsby’. Every one of these films drip with Luhrmann’s distinctively lavish and bombastic style. It’s a style DiCaprio is particularly suited to.

‘Romeo + Juliet’ redefined the Shakespearean adaptation. Transplanting the story into a modern world had been done before, and there are dozens of traditional versions. Luhrmann combined both in a way that made it both accessible and still faithful. Keeping the original dialogue and interactions, while also translating the material into something modern teenagers can understand, Luhrmann managed make Shakespeare cool again.

What Luhrmann did was something that combined both in a way that made it both accessible and still faithful.

You could certainly argue that Luhrmann’s work inspired 1999's ’10 Things I Hate About You’ (The Taming of the Shrew), 2006's ‘She’s the Man’ (Twelfth Night’) and even Joss Whedon’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ among others.

Set amongst the backdrop of gang warfare, ‘Romeo + Juliet’ goes a long way to explaining the concepts behind Shakespeare’s play that were difficult to grasp for younger, sheltered readers. This is one reason why it became an English teacher’s dream. There’s so much in this film that enhances not only an understanding of classical works, but of modern language - Shakespeare penned dozens of phrases we still use today, and hearing them spoken in a context such as this is one of the best educational tools you could find. I wonder how many thank you cards Luhrmann still gets from grateful teachers?

Luhrmann’s adaptation entered the pop-culture lexicon and endures there still. Three big players in the film industry owe their success to the quality of this film. In celebration, why not dig out your copy? Just steel yourself for classroom flashbacks.

COMMENTS
TO LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE SIGN IN AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE OR CLICK HERE TO JOIN.

© 2011 - 2017 midnightproductions | All rights reserved
© 2011 - 2017 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Disclaimer | Contact Us