Baz Luhrmann's classic film Romeo + Juliet is turning 20 this month! The film adaptation of the William Shakespeare play, Romeo and Juliet, turned heads because of Luhrmann's decision to transport the characters to the modern-day setting of Verona (well, OK- modern for 1996) while simultaneously remaining true to the original script. It won more than a dozen awards across the globe and was even nominated for an Oscar.
It's often been credited as the movie that first put Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes in the public spotlight as serious actors. Luhrmann has previously admitted that while Leo was always his number one pick for Romeo, her originally wanted Natalie Portman for Juliet. Upon seeing the two actors together, though, Luhrmann made the executive decision to go with Claire Danes instead.
For its 20th anniversary today, Luhrmann is releasing unseen production materials for the first time ever! The Australian director made the announcement through Twitter last week, delighting fans when he said that he and his team would be reviewing old archives and posting new materials. Here it is, in his own words:
It was an extraordinary creative journey, the likes of which I'm sure the cast, crew, and close collaborators will never quite experience again. Many doubted the preposterous ambition of setting Shakespeare's beloved tragic romance in a heightened creative world, with a then relatively unknown Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes.
But we did make it, overcoming incredible odds filming entirely in Mexico. Over the next 7 days, the team and I are going to go through our unpublished archives and, as a celebration of time passing, release previously unseen items leading up to R+J's 20th birthday. Think of it as a big shoutout to Shakespeare himself, whose 400th anniversary is this year.
Luhrmann started to make good on his promises almost immediately after his announcement, also through his Twitter account. He posted a story board for the famous gas station scene, images of Montague costume designs, a story board for Benvolio's death, and a story board for Vizcaya, the Capulet mansion.
It's very cool to get a sneak peek at what goes on behind the silver screen and to learn about the collaborative creative process. Whether you're a huge fan of the movie Romeo + Juliet, or just someone who enjoys learning more about how movies are made, you'll get a kick out of these boards and extra materials. Follow Luhrmann on Instagram and Twitter for more!
Since doing Romeo + Juliet back in 1996, Luhrmann has worked on several amazing movies, including Moulin Rouge in 2001, and also the revamp of another classic tale, The Great Gatsby, in 2013.
He has only positive things to say about R+J stars Leonardo and Claire Danes, and hinted that he's always on the lookout for another project in which he'll get to collaborate with Leo. We'll keep our fingers crossed for his future movies!
P.S. If you had anything to do with the making of the film, or are simply just a fan and want to share, don't hold back. Though I'm still getting down with "the get down", the team and I so much enjoy looking at everything."
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Video Credit: Movieclips
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