The 1968 version of Romeo And Juliet, directed by Franco Zeffirelli, is generally listed among the most successful—and most traditional—screen adaptations of Shakespeare. That’s all well and good, but for a generation of men who were in high school in the late 1980s, it ranks alongside the insert shower shot in Sixteen Candles as a formative moment in PG-rated nudity. And in the case of Romeo And Juliet, it was PG-rated nudity that everyone got to watch among their classmates in public school, as an educational supplement for teachers who needed a smoke break. Still, one of the reasons that second of prurience was so affecting is that the movie around it genuinely connected with young people, thanks in part to the passion and chemistry of Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting in the title roles.
Now the torch is passed to Generation Z. Forty-six years after their Romeo And Juliet, the still-very-much-alive Hussey and Whiting are reuniting to appear as Juliet Capulet’s (just “Julia” here) parents in Social Suicide, a British thriller loosely inspired by Shakespeare’s play. Hussey’s real-life daughter India Eisley will star as Julia in what The Hollywood Reporter describes as a movie “centering on a police investigation of the murder-suicides of social-media-savvy teenagers.” The investigation will involve parsing out clues from “videos, vlogs, and snapchats,” which sounds like an unbelievably terrible idea to modernize Shakespeare, but if the Bard can survive (and thrive in) a “To be or not to be” monologue at a Blockbuster Video, he can make it through a Skype chat, too. As for the reunited Romeo And Juliet stars, Hussey has kept active in theater and film, but this will be Whiting’s first screen appearance in nearly 40 years. Surely a man that desperate for work cannot demand a no-nudity clause on his contract.
Social Suicide is shooting now, with an eye on an early 2015 release.