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Acclaimed director comes to Cleveland

September 27th, 2007

Julie Taymor, the acclaimed director of Broadway’s “The Lion King,” directed a film that Robert Ebert called, “a bold, beautiful, visually enchanting musical.”

The recently debuted movie, “Across the Universe,” features the love story of two young adults on the verge of finding their place in the world during the chaos of the 1960s.
The time is packed with radical, rebellious young thinkers looking to voice their opinions, discover who they truly are, and make an impact on the world.

From the dockyards of Liverpool to the violence of Vietnam, the musical follows the protests and confusion of the era that ultimately pulls the lovers apart.

After powers greater than their own control tears them in different directions, Jude (Jim Sturgess) and Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood) are left to find their way back to one another.

Thirty-three of the Beatles revolutionary songs were chosen for this musical. The songs included classic like “Hey Jude,” “I Am the Walrus,” and “All You Need is Love.”

Taymor’s said the whole point was to create a Beatles musical. The beloved songs helped dictate the plot and create characters. Taymor calls it part of what makes this movie different and claims the Beatles are too good to date.
Taymor said, “Across the Universe is a rock opera story all told through the Beatles lyrics, 80-90 percent is sung live, not lip-synched, so it is very real, there is no disconnect.”

The unique style of the Beatles teamed up with the artistic backdrop of the movie creates an indefinable creative genius.
The main character, Jude, is an artist surrounded by a world of inspiration. His art is wild, poetic and free-willing.The young cast, like the characters that they play, are bursting with unique talent. Evan Rachel Wood, who plays Lucy, was nominated for a Golden Globe award for her performance in the drama “Thirteen,” as well as a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Critics Choice Award in 2004.

Jim Sturgess makes his debut in “Across the Universe” and is already becoming a notable Hollywood actor. He will appear opposite Scarlet Johansson, Natalie Portman and Eric Bana in “The Other Boleyn Girl” set to be released in February.

Other actors include Joe Anderson as Max, Martin Luther McCoy as Jo-Jo, Dana Fuchs as Sadie, and T.V. Carpio as Prudence. The musical is also sprinkled with familiar faces such as Bono.
The movie, though placed in the sixties, is easily transferable to every generation. As Jude sang, “Living with eyes closed is easy.” This movie brings examination to a time when people stood up for their beliefs, when drafts were causing protests and the world was a very different group of people, said Taymor.

Taymor said, “I believe in this story. The movie is fun, engaging content that it is very current today. Today’s movies don’t really say anything or are very serious and this movie is romantic, and entertains while still having a message, in a way that it is unlike every movie.”

Critics seem to agree with Taymor. Steven Holden of The New York Times said, “I fell in love with this movie.” Karen Durbin of Elle magazine said, “Across the Universe pulls out all the stops.”
“Across the Universe” is now playing in select cities.