Ah, Coriolanus. That Shakespeare play about...Romans, isn't it? Something to do with wars and elections? But fear not if your lack of knowledge rivals ours, because Ralph Fiennes is directing a film version, and Gerard Butler has just joined the cast.
The one that the Reduced Shakespeare Company don't bother trying to summarise (except through interpretive dance involving a small clockwork dinosaur) in fact follows a Roman general called Gaius Martius (Fiennes himself) who leads his city's armies to war against the Volsicans (from Southern Italy), some of Rome's most dangerous enemies in its early days. The leader of the Volsicans is Tullus Aufidius, who Butler is set to play, who considers Gaius a blood enemy and engages him in single combat. And that's all only in the first half.
The play also stars Vanessa Redgrave in the crucial role of Volumnia, who persuades her son to run for Consul of Rome and later has to persuade him from turning against the city. William Hurt, Eddie Marsan and Jessica Chastain round out the cast of what we're told will be a contemporary version of the story.
There's no release date for this one yet, which begins shooting in Serbia in March. We assume that Butler will spend the meantime boning up on his Bard but also shaping up those abs, since it is our understanding that any time he tackles classical history, he has to take his clothes off. That's right, isn't it?