Welcome to the OC, Romeo
Chelsea Lauren/ Jonathan Leibson/ Getty
Ed Westwick and Jessica Szohr were both at the City Year Los Angeles Spring Break: Destination Education event the other day. It was the second weekend in row that they were together but not photographed side by side having also appeared at a Coachella party the week before. Click here to see those shots. So maybe they’re back together? You don’t care. I don’t either, really; it was just a segue to post the trailer from the new Romeo & Juliet adaptation by Julian Fellowes. Many of you know Fellowes as the creator of Downton Abbey. But, really, his best work is Gosford Park. When was the last time you watched Gosford Park? I need to put that on my iPad for the plane.
Anyway, in Fellowes’s version of Romeo & Juliet, my Shame F-ck Westwick plays Tybalt. Look at him as he delivers the line “Come settle with me, boy”. I keep hearing, “Welcome to the OC, bitch”. That was a different show, obviously, but not really, and the point is, am I crazy?, because I’m not feeling it.
Right from the top I’m not feeling how Stellan Skarsgard delivers the couplet. And why is Damian Lewis’s wig so bad? The problem, of course, is that I can’t help but compare it to Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet which, to me anyway, rivals that of Zeffirelli’s. Blasphemy?
What offended so many people about Luhrmann’s take was the in-your-face pop artiness of his interpretation. But at the same time, couldn’t you argue that he skillfully modernised a universal timeless story without compromising the language? The language is presented perfectly... as Leo runs around Venice Beach, gang fires burning on the ground, helicopters slicing the night sky, in Hawaiian print shirts and wide collars and silver mesh sweaters dropping iambic pentameter on a winged, fresh-faced Claire Danes...while a flame dancing Mercutio, aka Michael from Lost, gyrates on the mansion steps....
Fine. Maybe it’s unfair to compare. Maybe a traditional, purist’s version might be OK. Maybe Chuck Bass will be OK.