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‘Titus’ takes on L.A.

Mechanic, Hopkins, Taymor make Bard screening

Turning Shakespeare’s least known and most violent play, “Titus Andronicus,” into a movie would be daunting for any director, especially for a tyro filmmaker like Julie Taymor.

But she gladly accepted the challenge of helming, writing and exec producing Fox Searchlight’s “Titus.”

Directing the Broadway musical “The Lion King,” “was fun, but I really did want to get as far away from ‘Lion King’ as I possibly could get,” Taymor explained.

“That’s better if it’s not one of (the Bard’s) best known plays, because if you hate Shakespeare you might go see the film anyway,” said Taymor during the pic’s special screening Tuesday night at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Plus, it doesn’t hurt that “Titus” stars are Oscar-winning Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange.

“Titus” co-star Alan Cummings admitted, “It was a hard play to do — we had to maintain an amount of intensity for what seemed like five years.” Hopkins and Lange, he said, “were really a riot.”

And the clincher for “Titus” co-star Angus Macfadyen to take the role was, “I got to work with one of my favorite actors of all time — Anthony Hopkins.”

Among those at the screening were Fox topper Bill Mechanic, pic’s stars Hopkins, Laura Fraser and Harry Lennix; producer Jody Patton, exec producer Paul G. Allen, composer Elliot Goldenthal; guests Jacqueline Bisset, Billy Campbell and David Schwimmer.

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