Friday, April 08, 2011

An Age-Appropriate Juliet?

Hailee Steinfeld, who we last saw telling us about the Shakespearean dialogue in True Grit, may be playing Juliet.

What would make this project intriguing is that Steinfeld is in fact 14, making her one of the most age-appropriate Juliets you'll find. How would that change your opinion of the movie? Does everyone remember the Zeffirelli version of Romeo and Juliet with a 17yr old, topless Olivia Hussey?

I wonder how old this one will make its Romeo?


Sharky said...

Actually, Olivia Hussey was 16 when they shot the movie.

(She was also a rather heavy smoker at that point)

Jon said...

Susan Shentall was 19 in the 1954 film (opposite a 25-year-old Laurence Harvey; this is Shentall's sole credit, ever). The main thing I remember about this long-unseen version (I think I caught it on a Sunday TV airing decades ago) is its visual beauty -- the costumes and locations. And it has to be at least livelier than the dreary Norma Shearer film. It's coming out on DVD/BluRay later this month.

In the BBC series, Rebecca Saire must have been exactly 14 when she played Juliet. I don't think she or that production are any great shakes though.

I also would prefer not to see the role played by 14-year-old ("age-appropriate") actresses. If she plays as "young" (can seem to be a teenager), that's enough. But if she really seems like someone in middle school it can distract us with questions (wondering about her sexual maturity etc.) that the play isn't built to handle. WS had to establish her extreme youth immediately, what with 3 boy actors occupying her first scene and needing to be differentiated. But her character age shifts during the play, just as Hamlet's does, and I don't see any positive gain to be had from the age 14.

Alexi said...

Jon: Bringing out Juliet's precociousness, as well as the tragedy of her young demise doesn't strike you as an advantage? I agree it's a rare 14 year-old who can pull off the role, but Steinfeld proved she could act toe-to-toe with Matt Damon and Jeff Bridges. She deserves a shot at this role. I for one am excited.

catkins said...

I agree with you, Alexi. I think Steinfeld was terrific in True Grit and I think she would make a great go at Juliet.