No doubt that the theater, opera, and film director is both a genius and a handful. Julie Taymor was recently replaced as director of Broadway’s Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark after the accident-plagued musical became known as the most expensive production in the history of The Great White Way. She also has fought with almost every producer of her movies. The main problem has been that no one wants to give her the same free rein with her creativity that Disney did when she brought The Lion King to the stage in 1997 in a stunning production that continues to play around the world to this day. Her first feature film, Titus, was a startling reinterpretation of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, her Frida received six Oscar nominations, her Across the Universe starred U2 lead singer Bono (with whom she collaborated on Spider-Man), and her film version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest cast Helen Mirren in the role of the sorcerer Prospero usually played by a male actor. There’s probably an Oscar with Taymor’s name on it in the future, but only if ICM’s Jeff Berg can help her to function within Hollywood’s constraints.
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