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An early look at Ralph Fiennes in Shakespeare's 'Coriolanus'

August 10, 2011 |  2:55 pm

Shakespeare's historical play "Coriolanus" has never before been adapted for the big screen, and for good reason. It's one of the Bard's longest plays and also one of his most complicated. The title protagonist is a distant and largely unsympathetic character -- unlike, say, Richard III, who is unsympathetic but also clever and funny.

In December, the Weinstein Co. will release "Coriolanus" in U.S. theaters. Ralph Fiennes directed and stars in the movie, with a screenplay by Tony-winning playwright John Logan ("Red"). The movie places the action in a contemporary setting that is reminiscent of the Bosnian wars. (The film was shot at least partially in Serbia.)

The cast includes Gerard Butler as Aufidius, Coriolanus' chief rival; Vanessa Redgrave as Volumnia, his mother; Brian Cox and Menenius, a politician; and Jessica Chastain as Virgilia, his wife.

Fiennes has a strong history with "Coriolanus," having played the part on stage in a 2000 production by the Almeida Theatre and directed by Jonathan Kent.


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-- David Ng