Sunday, August 19, 2007

As You Like It Asian-style

Kenneth Branagh has returned with his fifth Shakespearean translation to film. As You Like It premieres Tuesday on HBO and stars Kevin Kline, Alfred Molina and Bryce Dallas Howard.

Branagh’s twist on this version is the setting: 19th Century Japan.

He developed the idea while meditating in Kyoto, Japan, several years ago.

"One of Shakespeare's most enduring plays," according to the LA Times, "As You Like It is set in the magical Forest of Arden, where the beautiful Rosalind (Howard), the daughter of a banished duke (Brian Blessed), is forced to flee her uncle's (also Blessed) court. Accompanying her on her journey is her cousin Celia (Romola Garai). Fearing she'll be discovered by her uncle's men, Rosalind disguises herself as a boy. The guise proves advantageous when she decides to test the love and devotion of her admirer Orlando (David Oyelowo), who has also been exiled from the court with his jealous brother (Adrian Lester) in pursuit and trying to kill him.

"Kline, who has played such Shakespeare heroes and villains as Falstaff, Hamlet and Richard III on the New York stage, plays the lonely, melancholic philosopher Jaques, who Shakespeare scholars believe represents the playwright himself."