Pop culture treasure, high culture trash.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Kiss me, Bess!

Why is there something unavoidably camp about Elizabeth I movies? Is it the farthingales? The wigs? The angsty shouts of "You will never know my heart!" delivered on horseback? HBO clearly appreciates this proud tradition because it cast Jeremy "World's Campiest Man" Irons in its new hellcat virgin queen miniseries. Here, Irons gets to chew up groaner lines like, "Do I not live in the sun of your favor?" and spit them out again studded with rhinestones and silver glitter. In a fantastically feminist move, HBO has also cast Dame Helen Mirren as Lizzy Tudor and ignored the Hollywood law against using actresses over 25 in romantic roles. This means that instead of Keira Knightley trying on her "mature" face we get 60-year-old Dame Helen, hot as hell and with enough career/life experience to maybe carry the part with some class and realism, making out with the baby-faced and hilariously-named Hugh Dancy (30!!!) as Essex. Yes, HBO! I don't even care that all you've done is remake Shekhar Kapur's Elizabeth without quite as many overhead shots and heads on pikes--give me Helen Mirren wearing armor and teasing pretty boys and I am sold.

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