Happy St. Catherine’s Day, one and all! It may not have the prestige of St. George’s Day or the tasty pancakes of Shrove Tuesday*, but today’s saint can offer a glimpse of one of Peter O’Toole’s films. Katherine Of Alexandria, the O’Toole-starring account of the martyr, has a new trailer to share its saintly wares.
She may not be a household name – unless you’re reading this in an Estonian household, in which case, Tere! – but Catherine (Nicole Keniheart) has a fascinating back story for the film to explore. Famously beautiful, she was invited to marry the Emperor Maximinus II, an “invitation” in name only. Catherine turned him down, dedicating her life to Christ instead, and in one of history’s earliest recorded sense of humour failures, he sentenced her to death.
The bridal refusenik was first attached to a spiked wheel – the ‘Catherine Wheel’ – and when that didn’t do the trick, she was eventually killed in the ruins of one of Alexandria’s destroyed libraries.
Says writer / director Michael Redwood, “My agenda was simple: painstaking research, to create an intelligent screenplay and to seek out Britain’s best performers for their unrivalled ability to help portray the story of this religious icon. The dialogue demanded some of the world’s most recognisable voices such as Peter O’Toole and Edward Fox, who were an inspiration to work with. Katherine’s voice also had to be most haunting in its delivery.”
O’Toole lends his actorly skills to the role of palace orator Gallus, alongside veteran thesps Fox, Joss Ackland and Steven Berkoff. Expect it sometime in 2014.
*Actually, St. Catherine’s Day can go one better. Click here your recipe for St. Catherine’s cakes, AKA cattern cake.