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Titus (1999) Poster

(1999)

Trivia

Jump to: Director Trademark (1)  | Spoilers (3)
Writer, producer, and director Julie Taymor used anachronistic props and clothes throughout this movie (chariots, tanks, swords, and machine guns) because she wanted to symbolically depict 2,000 years of warfare and violence.
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None of the characters wear green at any point during this movie. The only green seen in the whole movie are the vegetables in the kitchen, and the green of the grass and leaves during the forest scenes. Julie Taymor felt that green suggests safety and comfort, and told costume designer Milena Canonero that costumes could only be colored metallic, red, blue, gray, black, or white.
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Writer, producer, and director Julie Taymor and Sir Anthony Hopkins disagreed about Titus' mental state throughout production, with Taymor feeling that Titus is feigning a kind of madness, but is in fact mad himself, but with Hopkins feeling that Titus is feigning madness, and is in fact totally sane. They never resolved their differences and on their respective commentaries on the DVD, they mentioned their differing interpretations.
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Writer, producer, and director Julie Taymor conceived of Saturninus (Alan Cumming) as being from the 1930s, and rooted in Fascism, while Bassianus (James Frain) came from the 1950s, and was concerned with conservatism. This is reflected in the cars in which they travel, and the clothes their supporters wear during the political speeches.
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According to Julie Taymor, she set the scene where Aaron (Harry Lennix) suggests to Chiron (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) and Demetrius (Matthew Rhys) that they rape Lavinia (Laura Fraser) in a swinging bed to represent the idea that they were like babies in a cradle to him.
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Writer, producer, and director Julie Taymor fought against an NC-17 rating for this movie, but finally agreed to make cuts in the Roman orgy scene, in order to obtain an R-rating. None of the gruesome violence, however, was considered inconsistent with an R-rating.
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In a television profile on British television in 2002, Sir Anthony Hopkins confirmed that he had found the experience of working on this movie so stressful, that he decided at the time to retire from movie acting. In the same interview, Hopkins points out that in the dinner scene towards the end, he mimicked the great British "Knight" actors of Shakespeare: Sir John Gielgud, Sir Ralph Richardson, and Sir Laurence Olivier.
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The fanfare which plays over the opening credits is in fact a recited version of a Latin translation of the dialogue from the play, as Titus (Sir Anthony Hopkins) is being welcomed back to Rome by Marcus (Colm Feore). Composer Elliot Goldenthal had the text translated, and then wrote it as an opera. It is sung by an all male choir of over eighty tenors, baritones, and basses.
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Every single Goth who appears in this movie has blond hair, not a single Roman has blond hair. Julie Taymor did this to emphasize the racial division inherent in the story.
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The changes in the color of Titus' clothes as this movie progresses were very specifically chosen by writer, producer, and director Julie Taymor, as they move from very dark armor to a totally white chef's outfit in the final scene. Taymor wanted to convey the impression of Titus moving from being a soldier, impervious to emotion, to something much more vulnerable and human.
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Shortly after 300 (2006) was released, there was considerable controversy in regards to Tyler Bates' score. It was noted that Bates' music borrowed heavily from Elliot Goldenthal's score for this movie. In particular, Bates' "Remember Us" is identical in parts to Goldenthal's "Finale", and "Returns a King" is very similar to "Victorius Titus". There was talk of an impending lawsuit, however, on August 3, 2007, Warner Brothers acknowledged on 300 (2006)'s official website, "a number of the music cues for the score of 300 were, without our knowledge or participation, derived from music composed by Academy Award winning composer Elliot Goldenthal for the motion picture Titus. Warner Brothers Pictures has great respect for Elliot, our longtime collaborator, and is pleased to have amicably resolved this matter." As a result, the composer credit on the 2009 Blu-ray re-release of 300 (2006), "300: The Ultimate Experience", features the note "Derived in part from pre-existing compositions not authored by Tyler Bates."
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The cast rehearsed for three weeks before filming.
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When Chiron (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) and Demetrius (Matthew Rhys) dress as Rape and Murder, Titus (Sir Anthony Hopkins) grabs Rape and begins to grind up against him. Myers had no idea that Hopkins was going to do this, and his reaction is completely genuine.
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In the scene where Saturninus (Alan Cumming) forgives Titus (Sir Anthony Hopkins), a large stone hand can be seen in the background, hands are a major theme throughout this movie.
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Julie Taymor hired production designer Dante Ferretti for this movie, as she admired his work so much on Fellini's Satyricon (1969), a similarly styled movie to this one.
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The large white building seen several times throughout the movie is the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, built by Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini as his governmental headquarters, and known disparagingly in Rome as the Square Coliseum.
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Harry Lennix originally played Aaron for Julie Taymor's off Broadway production of Titus Andronicus. When informed of the impending movie, he felt obligated to reprise his role for the screen.
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All the scenes in the coliseum were shot in Pula, Croatia, as the coliseum in Rome has no floor, and couldn't be used.
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Before he came to America and won an Oscar, Sir Anthony Hopkins had appeared in over one hundred performances of King Lear (as King Lear) and over one hundred performances of Antony and Cleopatra (as Antony), and had vowed never to do Shakespeare again. Shortly before being offered the role of Titus by writer, producer, and director Julie Taymor, he was offered the same role for an English stage production, and had turned it down. He also turned down Taymor at first. However, after seeing her stage production of The Lion King, and a video of her production for Saito Kinen Orchestra in Japan of the operatic adaptation of Great Performances: Oedipus Rex (1993), Hopkins changed his mind, and decided to do the project.
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Julie Taymor has stated that the only aspect of this movie with which she was unhappy is the shot of the prostitutes as the dejected Titus walks down a narrow street. Taymor feels that Titus should be alone in the scene, and she regrets her decision to include the women.
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For the banquet scene, two different types of pie were used. For shots where no one was eating, the pie was rare meatloaf, for shots where people can be seen eating, it was bean pie.
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The microphone used during the election at the beginning of the movie sports the logo SPQR News, SPQR stands for "Senatus Populusque Romanus", which means "the Senate and people of Rome". The letters were used to denote official entities. They can still be seen in many parts of Rome to this day.
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The music for the party scene was composed and recorded prior to the filming of the scene, as Julie Taymor wanted it played on the set, so the actors and actresses could dance to it, and the band could play the actual music. Usually all music for a movie is written and recorded after principal photography wraps.
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After shooting the final scene, Sir Anthony Hopkins unleashed his anger at the close-up camera by giving it a middle finger salute.
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The scene where Titus sits in a bathtub is loosely based on the famous 1793 Jacques-Louise David painting "The Death of Marat".
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Following the death of Caesar, the two Princes' supporters carry banners with the same colors as modern Rome's two rival soccer teams: A.S. Roma (yellow and red) and S.S. Lazio (white and pale blue). Writer, producer, and director Julie Taymor, however, has said that this was unintentional.
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During the off-Broadway production of the play, and the shooting of this movie, Julie Taymor used the work of Joel-Peter Witkin as inspiration.
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The soldiers in the opening scene were played by students from the Zagreb Police Academy.
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Young Lucius' (Osheen Jones') first dialogue in this movie, defending himself to Titus (Sir Anthony Hopkins) for killing a fly, are spoken in the original play by Marcus.
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First Shakespeare performance of Jessica Lange (Tamora).
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The large wolf sculpture seen above the throne is meant to recall the myth of Romulus and Remus, two Etruscan children abandoned in a forest, and saved by a she-wolf, from whom they feed prior to their founding of Rome.
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When Marcus (Colm Feore) finds Lavinia (Laura Fraser), the burnt branches surrounding her are a representation of how much she has been destroyed and mutilated from her original beauty. Writer, producer, and director Julie Taymor based the image of Lavinia on the tree trunk on an Edgar Degas' ballerina on a pedestal.
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This movie credits Steve Bannon, at this point an entertainment-industry figure, as an executive producer. In 2016, after Bannon's rise to international notoriety as a right-wing journalist and member of Donald Trump's presidential campaign team, an article by The Daily Telegraph pointed out his link to this movie, causing Julie Taymor to issue a statement stressing that "he had nothing to do with the actual producing or financing of it."
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Production designer Dante Ferretti had to leave this movie shortly after principal photography began, to start work on Bringing Out the Dead (1999). However, he left detailed instructions and designs for art director Pier Luigi Basile to implement during shooting, and he returned to the set every two weeks to check that everything was going okay.
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Alan Cumming appeared in The Tempest (2010), another adaptation of a Shakespearean work, and his second collaboration with Julie Taymor.
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Nicola Pecorini was the original cinematographer on the project, but shortly after production began, he left, due to creative differences with Julie Taymor. Taymor had originally offered the job to Luciano Tovoli, but he had had to turn it down as he was shooting Deceit (1999) at the time. After Pecorini left, Taymor again contacted Tivoli, who was now free, and who agreed to come on-board.
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Alan Cumming (Saturninus) and Sir Anthony Hopkins (Titus Andronicus) played Marvel comic book characters: Cumming as Nightcrawler in X2: X-Men United (2003), and Hopkins as Odin in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
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Director Trademark 

Julie Taymor: [Elliot Goldenthal score]: Elliot Goldenthal composed the score, as he has for almost every Julie Taymor film.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

When the dead Caeser's sons first appear with their respective crowds, the cars they use to travel gives hints to their fate: Saturninus rides in a coach resembling the vehicle used by Hitler when he would travel in marches, whereas Bassianus rides in the same model car in which JFK was riding on the day he was assassinated.
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Julie Taymor's stage production of the play ends with the implication that Lucius is going to kill Aaron's baby, but during production of this movie, Angus Macfadyen convinced Taymor that Lucius was an honorable man, and would not go back on his word.
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The music playing just before the heads of Martius (Colin Wells) and Quintus (Kelly Doughty) are shown to their father Titus (Sir Anthony Hopkins), was re-used by Julie Taymor in Across the Universe (2007).
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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