Ray Winstone To Join Steven Soderbergh’s Guided By Voices-Singing Professionals

Dec 2nd, 2008 // 8 Comments

Last month, we told you about Cleo, Steven Soderbergh’s musical about the life of Cleopatra that will supposedly star Catherine Zeta-Jones, Hugh Jackman, and the songs of Guided By Voices. (Also it’s in 3-D.) Today, a new castmember was announced for the flick: Ray Winstone, whose musical-acting chops can be seen in the above scene from Ladies And Gentlemen The Fabulous Stains. He’ll play Julius Caesar in the film, which is bringing together ’70s rock operas, former Spin writers, the music of Robert Pollard, and backlots trussed up to look like ancient Egypt in ways that I don’t think any of us have ever seen, except maybe during Theraflu hazes.

The director also refured reports that the film is set in the 1920s, saying it’s a period story all the way. So does that mean a trip to Egypt is in order? Nope, it’s all going to be done on backlots, he told me.

Soderbergh explained at length how this bizarre sounding project ended up on his plate: “I’ve always wanted to do a musical. All the ones that were coming along just weren’t for me. I wanted to do a real rock n roll musical like ‘Tommy.’ During my research it appeared that most were female driven. So I started thinking about female protagonists. I was thinking about Catherine. It doesn’t take too long to think about Catherine and famous female historical figures to get to get to Cleopatra.”

That’s all well and good, but how does the influential indie band Guided by Voices figure into all of this? Soderbergh said he’d been thinking about using frontman Robert Pollard’s music for his long-gestating musical, when a conversation with former GBV member James Greer led to Greer writing the script in just six weeks. “He went away for like six weeks and wrote this great script! It’s like an Elvis musical in a way. It’s not serious. I mean it’s historically pretty accurate but its sort of like ‘Viva Las Vegas’ meets ‘Tommy.’”

Soderbergh added that it’s the very next film on his docket. He’s set to begin shooting in APril, he said. “I’m totally psyched,” he gushed.

Viva Las Vegas meets Tommy? In 3-D? Why not just cut to the chase and remake The Apple?

EXCLUSIVE: Ray Winstone Cast As Caesar In Cleopatra Musical, Soderbergh Calls It ‘Viva Las Vegas Meets Tommy’ [MTV via chud.com; HT Lucas]
The Professionals – Join The Professionals [YouTube]


  1. Lucas Jensen

    Certainly nothing will ever top the “ending” of The Apple, though I hear there is an alternate take that is even more stunning than the insanity of the original.

  2. Lucas Jensen

    Oh, and I love crazy things, so I am all for this movie.

  3. Ned Raggett

    @Lucas Jensen: I hear there is an alternate take that is even more stunning than the insanity of the original

    ?!?!? I can’t even imagine that!

  4. Lucas Jensen

    @Ned Raggett: I will get my friend to write it up for Idolator.

  5. Ned Raggett

    It should have been a bonus feature on the DVD.

  6. Lucas Jensen

    @Ned Raggett: It was only recently discovered. More tomorrow.

  7. the rich girls are weeping

    Wait, wait. WHAT? How did I miss news of this the FIRST TIME around?

    Is this a joke? This is a joke, right?

  8. westartedthis

    i was kind of surprised that i was the only one who commented on the original article (besides Lucas Jensen, who wrote it). this is the most awesomely terrible, insane idea i’ve ever heard. and i really kind of can’t wait to see it.

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