The Social Network has already been announced as the opening night film for this year's New York Film Festival, but the festival has now announced as its centerpiece a film that might be even more anxiously anticipated by the theater-friendly Lincoln Center crowd. In a press release at the end of last week, the Film Society of Lincoln Center named Julie Taymor's The Tempest as the festival's Centerpiece, to be screened on Saturday, October 2. That'll be just a few weeks after it closes the Venice Film Festival, but aside from some hardcore film festival goers, the audiences shouldn't overlap all that much.

Taymor, whose previous film was the operatic Beatles exploration Across the Universe, started adapting Shakespeare's The Tempest way back in October 2008, starting with the ballsy move of recasting the duke Prospero with Helen Mirren, and naming her Prospera. Russell Brand, Chris Cooper, Alan Cumming, Alfred Molina, David Strathairn and Ben Whishaw eventually jumped in to round out the cast, but the film was delayed like so many before it by its distributor, Miramax, which you may have heard has had some troubles lately. Now a release date of December 10 is set, and the New York FIlm Festival crowd-- accustomed to Taymor's wild extravagances on the stage-- will likely be the best possible American audience to first embrace The Tempest.

Below is the plot as laid out in the press release. Sounds pretty wild, potentially gorgeous, and generally very Julie Taymor. Can't wait to see how it turns out.

Academy Award®-nominated Julie Taymor (Across the Universe, Frida, Titus) brings an original dynamic to a 400 year-old story by changing the gender of the sorcerer Prospero into the sorceress Prospera, portrayed by Oscar® winner Helen Mirren. Prospera's journey spirals through vengeance to forgiveness as she reigns over a magical island, cares for her young daughter, Miranda, and unleashes her powers against shipwrecked enemies in this exciting, masterly mix of romance, tragicomedy and the supernatural.

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