Directed by Michael Hoffman Produced by Michael Hoffman, Leslie Urdang Written by Play: William Shakespeare Screenplay: Michael Hoffman Starring Kevin Kline, Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Everett, Stanley Tucci, Calista Flockhart, Anna Friel, Christian Bale, Dominic West, David Strathairn, Sophie Marceau, Roger Rees, Max Wright, Gregory Jbara, Bill Irwin, Sam Rockwell, Bernard Hill, John Sessions Music by Simon Boswell Cinematography Oliver Stapelton Editing by Garth Craven Studio Regency Enterprises Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures Release date April 26, 1999 Running time 116 minutes Language English
Info & Plot
In Monte Athena, Italy, young lovers Lysander (Dominic West) and Hermia (Anna Friel) elope into the forest to escape the strict instructions from Hermia’s father that she must be betrothed to Demetrius (Christian Bale), another young man who loves her. Demetrius follows them, having been made aware of the plan by Helena (Calista Flockhart), a young woman who is desperately in love with him. Once in the forest, they wander into the fairy world, ruled by King Oberon (Rupert Everett) and Queen Titania (Michelle Pfeiffer), two sparring local deities. Oberon and his servant sprite Puck (Stanley Tucci) cause mayhem among the lovers with a magic potion that causes both Lysander and Demetrius to fall in love with Helena, leading to a rift between all four which culminates (famously in this adaptation) in a mud-wrestling scene.
Meanwhile, Oberon bewitches Titania with the same potion, causing her to fall in love with a local weaver and amateur actor, Nick Bottom (Kevin Kline), whom Puck has furnished with the head of an ass. Titania woos Bottom in her bower, attended by fairies. Oberon tires of the sport and puts all to rights, pairing Lysander back with Hermia and Demetrius with Helena, and reconciling with his own queen, Titania. In the final part, Bottom and his troupe of “rude Mechanicals” perform their amateur play, based on the tragedy of Pyramus and Thisbe, before Duke Theseus (David Strathairn), his wife Hippolyta (Sophie Marceau) and the court, unintentionally producing a comedy.