James Mangold To Direct Juliet

A modern spin on Shakespeare's heroine

You've got to be quick off the mark in Hollywood if you want your choice of the best properties, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the case of Juliet, a book which won't be published until 2010 but which is already headed for the screen with James Mangold.

The novel, by Danish author Anne Fortier, is the story of a woman who discovers that she may be descended from Shakespeare's star-cross'd lovers Romeo & Juliet. The action apparently switches between medieval Siena and the modern day, leaving us with just one question: when in hell did R&J find time to have a kid? What about the whole double suicide bit? Because if this modern person is just descended from Mercutio or Tibalt or something, that's just no fun at all. And if they're descended from Romeo and Juliet themselves, that's a big piece of revisionism right there.

That said, the book caused a frenzy of bidding at September's Frankfurt book fair, so it must have something going for it. Mangold is attached to direct as well as produce the film, but there's no word on a screenwriter yet.