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Julie Taymor: From ‘Tempest’ to singing Spidey

Women's Impact Report: Femme Filmmakers

Both Broadway and Hollywood are feeling the impact of Julie Taymor this fall.

Director of the long-running Broadway smash “The Lion King” and of films including “Frida” and “Across the Universe,” Taymor is at the helm of the highest-profile — not to mention the priciest — tuner of the Broadway season, the $60 million “Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark.”

But she recently had to take some time off from legit rehearsals to head out to the Venice Film Festival for the opening of “The Tempest,” her movie adaptation of the Shakespeare play toplined by Helen Mirren and bowing in the U.S. as a centerpiece of the New York Film Festival.

In addition, her production of opera “The Magic Flute,” which has been in repertory at the Metropolitan Opera for going on six years, will be back on the boards for a December engagement.

For “The Tempest,” she departed from the Bard’s script by casting Mirren as a distaff incarnation of the wizard Prospero. “It’s not just that it’s different,” she says. “It shed a whole new light on the story.” Mirren appears alongside a starry lineup that includes Djimon Hounsou, Chris Cooper and Ben Whishaw.

The film also stars Reeve Carney, who toplines “Spider-Man,” the supersized offering on Taymor’s plate. With music by Bono and the Edge from U2, the mega-budget stage spectacle, set to open Dec. 21, includes aerial action sequences that will hurl performers over the audience at 40 miles per hour.

But at the foundation of all that technical wizardry, she says, is the enduring heart of a story about an everykid with one foot in the quotidian world and the other in the epic, extraordinary business of saving the world.

“Now that’s something worth singing about,” she says.

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