ROMEO AND JULIET
A Note from Julian Fellowes
For me, Romeo and Juliet is an exploration of what it is to be in love for the first time. It is a timeless story, and it has never been equaled in any language.
When a new telling of the story of the doomed lovers was suggested, I knew at once that I wanted to be involved in the next interpretation of this most iconic of plays. Of course it is a bold thing to attempt, to reinterpret Shakespeare, and there are no doubt many who disagree with us for even trying. I can't say I blame them. It's hard to think of another title, even among the works of the great bard, which triggers the response that, worldwide, greets the three words: Romeo and Juliet.
Producer Ileen Maisel and I wanted to give the modern audience a traditional, romantic version of the story, complete with medieval costumes, balconies, and duels, but we also wanted to make it immediate and accessible and new. Right from the start, we wanted Carlo Carlei at the helm, because he's as much a painter with film as a film director. He creates extraordinary and ravishing visual images, but he also pays close attention to the emotional narrative. As for the language, we were determined not to exclude that same young audience, those same young men and women whose discovery of love, a discovery which is new for every generation, is being examined here. This was our constant refrain as we prepared the screenplay.
None of this has any source beyond Shakespeare's own work, which was our touchstone and our inspiration throughout. Where we have imagined it anew, it is only to bring the playwright's concept alive again for a modern audience.
-- Julian Fellowes, screenwriter
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