So, I had the pleasure of watching the newest adaption of “The Tempest” this past weekend, directed by Julie Taymor and starring an ensemble cast of Helen Mirren, Chris Cooper, Alfred Molina, Djimon Hounsou and others. I’ve regarded “The Tempest” as my absolute favorite of Shakespeare’s plays because of the interesting range of characters, of human emotion displayed, and the story itself. I was pleased with Taymor’s adaption of the play. The cinematography was breathtaking, the action sequences terrifying and realistic, and the acting superb. I thought the cast all did a wonderful job getting into their characters heads. I especially liked the turn of changing Prospero’s character into a female version. During my brief stint at college, the theater department put on a production of “The Tempest” using a woman to portray ‘Prospera’. I thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of the play, putting a woman in that position of power. It made the performance fresh and put a new spin on the character’s relationships with one another, most notably the dynamic of a mother/daughter relationship with Miranda versus a father/daughter relationship.
Even more recently, I re-watched Joss Whedon’s brilliant film adaption of “Much Ado About Nothing” again and fell in love with it even more. Being a fan of most everything that Whedon does, I was delighted to see actors from several of his projects show up in this fabulous film. Each actor in each role was absolutely perfect. I don’t know how else to describe it. I particularly loved seeing Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker play off one another. Being a fan of “Angel”, I was a little more than upset by the way things ended with the show and took this matching, in spirit, of how things should have really ended. The idea of setting the play during modern times, having it’s actors be so easy-going and having so much fun only made me crave more of this. I’d also really like to see what he could do with a play that’s got a little more of a darker tone, like “The Tempest”.
So, please, Mr. Whedon…please do a rendition of “The Tempest”?
This is the part where I tell you who I’d put in each role. Just my own personal opinions. And I’d be interested to hear the people you guys would choose. I’m going to stick to alumnai from other Joss Whedon films, television shows, and online projects.
Anthony Stewart Head as Prospero: While I love the idea of a female Prospera, I can definitely see an experienced actor like Anthony Stewart Head taking the lead in this and really steering the film with his betrayal and feelings of vengaence. His part as Uther on Merlin showed that he could be cunning and underhanded while his role on Buffy showed us sympathy, graciousness, and a fatherly love toward the Slayer and her friends. Plus, he just looks so damn intimidating in that photo up there! But if we wanted to go with a female Prospera, just saying, Ming-Na Wen would probably be the best thing ever in that role.
Summer Glau as Ariel: Ariel has been played by a variety of actors and actresses alike. Ben Winshaw’s portrayal in Taymor’s film was fantastic. Glau has an ethereal quality to her and a grace that works for the spirit’s lines and role in the play. Plus, seeing her play as wonderfully weird a character as River Tam in Firefly kind of makes her the go-to choice for this part. Amy Acker could probably do this as well. Her portrayal of Illyria in “Angel” made for some excellent otherworldly acting.
Kristen Connolly as Miranda: Based on performance in “A Cabin in the Woods”, I’d say that Connolly could be a very good choice for the daughter of Prospero. I’ve seen her in “House of Cards” too, and really thought she was great. Of course, the wonderful Dichen Lachman (from “Dollhouse”) could pull off this role, too.
Nathan Fillion as Stephano: Come on. You knew that had to be coming. He practically screams Stephano. And of course, you couldn’t have a dynamite Stephano without an equally amazing…
Alan Tudyk as Trinculo: Tudyk is a great comedian. “Firefly” showed us he can pull off both comedy and serious acting well. And if anyone has seen “Death at a Funeral”… you know how brilliant he could be here. It would be great to see him partner up with Fillion to be this goofy duo and I bet they’d pull it off really well because they had fantastic chemistry on “Firefly”. Nicholas Brendon could also work for this role.
Adam Baldwin as Caliban: I had kind of a tough time trying to pick this one. Caliban’s character is very primitive but also quite tragic. He’s lost his freedom and has lots and lots of anger. That requires just the right kind of actor. I picked Baldwin because I think he’d bring the necessary oomph to scenes with he, Fillion, and Tudyk. “Firefly” reunion, much? Maybe. But I think he’d be great.
Iain De Caestecker as Prince Ferdinand: While the obvious choice for this role would fall to Fran Kranz (following his role as Claudio in “Much Ado”), I thought it that Iain De Caestecker, who portrays the timid, funny, and brave Fitz on “Agents of Shield” would be a different and wonderful choice here. De Caestecker is on his way up with several new projects in the pipeline. I think he would portray the Prince’s love for Miranda perfectly.
Clark Gregg as King Alonso: I thought Gregg was fantastic in “Much Ado” playing the concerned and protective father, Leonato, to his dauther, Hero. His recent work on “Agents of Shield” shows he is a fantastic dramatic actor in addition to being comedic and could portray the grieving king with the right amount of gravitas.
Ron Glass as Gonzalo: There’s just no other choice here for me. He’d portray the loyal, hopeful, and scholarly advisor perfectly.
Enver Gjokaj as Sebastian: Gjokaj’s recent turn on “The Walking Dead” combined with his various amazing portrayals on “Dollhouse” show he can be comedic and downright dark, too. He would be golden in this role.
and last but not least…
Alexis Denisof as Antonio: It would be fun to see Denisof play an antagonist, especially one as influential as Antonio, who manages to turn everyone against one another so easily. It would be great to see what he could do alongside Gjokaj and of course, up against former “Buffy” co-star Anthony Stewart Head.
Well, now I’ve said my peace. I do hope that Whedon makes another Shakespeare film someday and I desperately hope it’s “The Tempest”. But even if it’s not, I’d be thrilled to see anything as magnetic and amazing as “Much Ado About Nothing” come from him again in the form of an adapted Shakespeare play. T’would be cool.