The Baz Luhrmann version of William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet was made in 1996 and released all over the world from late 1996 all the way through to July of 1997 in theaters all over the world. The movie was a critical and financial success and helped to introduce the world to Leonardo Di Caprio’s acting range and talent. Prior to William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet Di Caprio had gained a decent level of fame for his role as the mentally challenged little brother to Johnny Depp in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? and Di Caprio was anxious to show the world that he had the ability to play more than just what he considered a kid’s role. Di Caprio played opposite Claire Danes who had found an audience through her surprise hit television series My So Called Life where she connected with teenagers all over the world as a teen just trying to survive the day to day life of being an American teenager. Both Di Caprio and Danes promised to bring a younger audience to see this movie and that is just one of the many strange things about William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.
A pleasant surprise in William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet was the performance of comedian John Leguizamo who plays the role of Tybalt in this movie. Leguizamo brings a passion and intensity to his role that made it shine when he was on screen. He handled the unique structure of the movie with ease and put in a very convincing performance.
William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet is set in the same setting as the play but in contemporary times. So you have the feuding families that drive the kids to the point of disaster but set against the backdrop of 1990’s America. What makes William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet unique is that the dialogue was all pulled directly from the play and kept in the old English fashion in which it was written. So you have these modern day teenage characters performing these scenes in a modern day setting but using the dialogue exactly as Shakespeare had written it hundreds of years ago. The contrast makes for a very interesting movie and guarantees that if you lose focus on the movie for just a few minutes then you run the risk of having no idea what in the world is going on when it ends.