Frequently Asked Questions
coriolanus is based on a play by Williams Shakespeare. It was one of his later tragedies and has a reputation for being one of his more obscure plays and not heavily produced, like Hamlet or Romeo & Juliet.
The original story takes place in ancient Rome. The reason for Ralph Fiennes (who directed and stars as the title character) chose to set the story in the present could be interpreted many different ways. However there have been many film adaptations of Shakespeare's plays done this way, set in our world or another historical time period, but retaining the basic dialog and story - many writers and directors have found that adapting Shakespeare's works to a different era has been an effective way of increasing a modern audience's understanding of Shakespeare. Recent examples have included Richard III (1995), Hamlet (2000) (1995) and Romeo + Juliet (1996) (1996). In this instance, Fiennes worked with John Logan, who had adapted the play to modern times. Fiennes himself portrayed Coriolanus in a stage production in 2000 and obviously felt it could be interpreted to our time. The film is also reflective of the problems that have faced a country like Iraq since the war broke out, e.g., the breakdown of social services like provision of electricity, clean water, sanitation, and, like this film, food shortages.