Actor/director explores fascination with Oscar Wilde play in 'unconventional documentary'
Ardent fans of Al Pacino know he is not only one of the most acclaimed actors of his time but they may not be aware of his work in the documentary realm.
In Looking for Richard (1996) he explored the genius of Shakespeare's Richard III, with cameras capturing his effort to interpret the tragic character.
His latest film, or rather films, find him on a quest to celebrate and interpret Oscar Wilde's play Salomé. Wilde Salomé is an 88-minute documentary that resulted from his decision to embark on a production of the work; the companion movie Salomé is a film version of the play itself, with Jessica Chastain in the title role.
We went in search of the man who wrote something so personal as Salomé.
Wilde Salomé premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2011 where it won the Queer Lion, an award recognizing the festival's best film with "LGBT themes and queer culture." Both Wilde Salomé and Salomé are only now getting a theatrical release in the U.S., with the films set to debut this Friday in New York and Los Angeles.
Pacino attended the LA premiere on Sunday, participating in a Q&A moderated by actor Stephen Fry.
Chastain's appearance in the Salomé films is noteworthy in part because when she was first cast to play the Biblical enchantress opposite Pacino in 2006 she was then a little-known actress. She subsequently went on to earn Oscar nominations for her roles in The Help (2011) and Zero Dark Thirty (2012), winning a Golden Globe for the latter film.
Watch the featurette below to learn more about Wilde Salomé and Salomé.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.