There may be no more polarizing director working today than Julie Taymor. For every post-modernist who swooned over “Titus” — her adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus” — there’s a Beatles aficionado still furious with her for making “Across the Universe.” The new trailer for her latest, “The Tempest,” won’t do anything to win over her dissenters, but it promises the film will boast her distinctive visual style: batshit crazy.

“The Tempest”


Jumping from the Bard’s first-ever play (“Titus”) to his last good one, Taymor keeps the language but transplants the setting into a world of magic and cross-dressing. Dame Helen Mirren, bending gender roles as Prospera, spits fire from her staff and mixes potions in an island laboratory. There’s a giant storm and a shipwreck, and then lots of people in costume (including Russell Brand and Djimon Hounsou) run around island cliffs causing general mayhem.

The trailer doesn’t promise to add anything new to the “modern phantasmagoria” subgenre already occupied by pretty much everything Taymor and Baz Luhrmann (“Moulin Rouge!”) have ever made, but at the very least “The Tempest” should be fascinating from a sensory standpoint. Also worth looking forward to: the sight of the world’s most respected actress transforming into a bird.

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