When Shakespeare meets Cervantes
by Vitor Pinto
What if Shakespeare and Cervantes had met? What would they have said to one another? Would their genius have brought them together or made them rivals? The fictional encounter between the two literary legends can be seen as of today in Inés Paris’ Miguel and William, distributed by Warner on 200 screens.
The title, initially to be directed by Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón, marks the first solo film by Paris, who previously co-directed the box office hits My Mother Likes Women and Semen: A Love Sample [+see also:
interview: Cesar Benítez
interview: Inés París & Daniela Fejerman
interview: Mariá Arellano - DeaAPlaneta
film profile] (see Focus) with Daniela Fejerman.
Here, Paris leaves behind contemporary Spain and its controversial social issues and sticks to a comedy in which Shakespeare is still in love. A promising playwright named William (Will Kemp) comes to Spain in search of a former lover, who is now about to get married to an evil duke. The film – not based on real events – interweaves the story of young William with that of Miguel Cervantes (Juan Luis Galiardo), a former soldier who is now preparing a comedy to be performed at the duke's wedding.
For Galiardo, one of the creators of the project, Miguel and William is a family film: "That's what we were looking for and that's what we have achieved. Humour had to be present in each scene and you tried as much as possible to avoid making an intellectual film. Inés is a gifted filmmaker for comedy and that brought us a lot of tranquillity".
Antonio Saura (Zebra Producciones) prefers to emphasise the financial risk the project carried with it: "It was our most ambitious film so far and also the most expensive film ever made by a woman in Spain."
This co-production between Spain (80%, Miguel y William Producciones and Zebra Producciones) and the UK (20%, Future Films) – whose international sales are being handled by Bavaria International – is not, however, the only European title to reach theatres.
Also on local screens this weekend are Paul Verhoeven's Black Book [+see also:
film profile] (distributed by Manga Films), Forian Hoffmeister's 3º Kälter (Barton Films) and Joe Carnahan's Smokin' Aces (Universal Pictures).
Lastly, there is also the première of The Pursuit of Happyness (Sony Pictures), the first US film by Italian director Gabriele Muccino, which has given Will Smith his second Academy Award nomination.
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