Stewart On Standing In O'Toole's Shadow

By Caillan
July 12, 2003 - 10:03 AM

Patrick Stewart photo - copyright Hallmark EntertainmentRemakes are a dime a dozen in Hollywood nowadays, but that didn't make Patrick Stewart (Jean-Luc Picard) any more comfortable stepping into the shoes of Peter O'Toole in a remake of The Lion In Winter.

Stewart will play Henry II, a role made famous by screen legend O'Toole, in Showtime's upcoming remake of the 1968 film. As if that wasn't enough for the new version to live up to, Glenn Close will be stepping into the shoes of Katharine Hepburn to portray Henry's wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine.

"There's no way we are saying we can do a better job than Peter O'Toole and Kate Hepburn," Stewart told columnists Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith (via the Mercury News). "I felt a little intimidated by the reputations of the two great actors who had played it on film," he added.

Showtime's version of The Lion In Winter, filmed in Hungary earlier this year, will not be taking any liberties with James Goldman's Oscar-winning screenplay — they used the original 1968 script, crafted by Goldman from his stage play.

"We also thought another reason the film was so marvelous is that it had a brilliant screenplay," Stewart said, "and something written so well deserves to be redone."

The film is set in England during Christmas 1183, as King Henry summons his three sons to his side to decide his successor. They are joined at this reunion by his treacherous wife Eleanor, his mistress Princess Alais, and her brother, King Philip II of France. Each of the attendees will stop at nothing to further their own agendas and gain a slice of Henry's empire.

Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (Titus, Velvet Goldmine) co-stars as Philip II, with Yuliya Vysotskaya (Max) as Alais. Emmy-winner Andrei Konchalovksy (The Odyssey) directed the production.

The Lion in Winter will debut on Showtime in the fall. The original article can be found here at the Mercury News.

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