Dame Helen Mirren and Russell Brand are among the cast members of an experimental upcoming film of Shakespeare's The Tempest.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Julie Taymor's take on the Bard sees Mirren as Prospera, a female version of Prospero, the exiled duke of the original play.

Brand is to play Trinculo, a jester, while Jeremy Irons, Djimon Hounsou and Ben Whishaw have also been confirmed for the Icon film.

In Shakespeare's original text, Prospero and his daughter Miranda (Felicity Jones) are exiled to a distant island inhabited only by deformed slave Caliban (Hounsou) and Ariel, a spirit (Whishaw).

Having learnt to control the island with magic, Prospero seizes the chance to wreak revenge on her usurpers by raising a storm which leaves them shipwrecked, sparking a romance between Miranda and the son of Prospero's greatest rival Alonso, the King of Naples (Irons).

Alfred Molina is also on board, playing the drunken butler Stephano while Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush is in negotiations to play Gonzalo, a royal adviser and former alley of Prospero's.

Director Taymor's only significant change to the text, as of yet, seems to be the feminising of Prospero's character.

Likely to begin shooting in November, The Tempest will be the Oscar-nominated helmer's first film since 2007's Beatles musical Across the Universe.

08/10/2008 07:50:31