NEW SERIES! Flix Character Spotlight: Lord Marke in Tristan + Isolde

Welcome to a new FlixChatter series where I’ll feature a certain movie character every other week. You know how it’s like when you’re watching a movie starring a couple of famous actors, but the supporting actor ends up stealing every scene he’s in and by the end of the movie you care so much for his part than the main leads? Well, this series is dedicated to those actors, who refuse to let limited screen time impact the indelible factor of their performance!

Please note: this post may contain spoilers

Character Spotlight #1: Tristan + Isolde‘s Lord Marke

The dashing Roof as Lord Marke

I mentioned this role in my Birthday post for Rufus Sewell, and after a second viewing of the movie (thanks Prairiegirl!), my admiration for the Lord Marke‘s character is affirmed. Known by most in playing bad guys (The Illusionist, The Legend of Zorro, The Holiday), Sewell embodies the virtuous statesman with such grace and integrity.

Tristan + Isolde is said to have been the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Romeo Juliet, two lovers from warring nations thrown together by chance and fell in love. Set in the Dark Ages after the fall of the Roman Empire, the divided Britain faces Ireland as the all-powerful enemy who’s set to never them united. It was at one of the tribal meetings to unite the country that we first see the heroic and noble nature of Lord Marke, who selflessly saved young Tristan from danger, and lost his right hand in the process. Orphaned due to that brutal attack, Tristan was then taken in by Marke, who raised him as his own son.

Now, given it’s a love story between the star-crossed lovers, we’re supposed to care most about James Franco and Sophia Myles’ characters. Yet, as the story progresses, I find myself drawn to the wise and noble  — not to mention hot – leader with such deep, penetrating eyes. Sure, when you have a looker like Mr. Sewell, it’s obviously a given, but it’s the way he carries himself in the role that really gets me. I won’t go into too much detail, but you can easily guess that due to some political circumstance, Tristan unknowingly offered Isolde to Mark in the name of peace. So even though Isolde ends up marrying the King, it’s inevitable the young lovers would end up continuing their affair.

Lord Marke and his bride Isolde

As a woman, I feel for Isolde for having to marry one she does not love for the sake of political gain. But boy, it’s hard to feel sorry for her when you see the two of them alone in their bed chamber and witness just how tender and loving Marke was towards her [swoon] When I saw her crying I kept thinking, ‘what is your problem, woman?!‘ 🙂 In the commentary feature, writer Dean Georgaris explained how he and director Kevin Reynolds made sure that Marke is written as a good man, because it’s easy for the viewers to root for the young lovers if they had made him to be the bad guy. This way, the betrayal towards him is even more heartbreaking.

I love the bridge scene above when Marke lamented that perhaps Isolde had a lover – it’s clear he’s fallen hard for Isolde.  I can plainly see the guilt that ravages Tristan at the very moment.  and most viewers no doubt feel the same for even rooting for the unfaithful couple. There’s also the moment Marke confronted his wife in the jail cell. Right after Isolde tells him the truth about how she + Tristan were once lovers, the overwhelmed king falls silent, then turns around and leaves. It’s a devastating scene that seals my admiration for this character… and the immensely talented actor who portrays him so perfectly.

Photo Updates to Coriolanus & The Expendables

Woot, woot! What have we got here? Back in early May, I posted some photos of the Ralph Fiennes’ modern-day Coriolanus adaptation with the cast on the set in Serbia. Well, thanks to Collider.com, we’ve got some new stills from the movie.

Photos courtesy of KinoGallery.com

More stills available at the KinoGallery.com site

In the second pic, we have a glimpse of Brian Cox as Menenius, a slick politician (well, is there any other kind?) and Vanessa Redgrave as Volumnia (Coriolanus’ mother). Cinematographer Barry Ackroyd is back to familiar territory after winning some kudos for The Hurt Locker, that last photo is definitely reminiscent of that movie.

In early May, a writer of The Guardian was on the set to observe the shoot and interview the actor/director Fiennes. The article states that Coriolanus has been described as Shakespeare’s least sympathetic tragic hero. Banished from Rome, he turns renegade and joins with Aufidius to march on the city, and that fact is actually what draws him in. “I kind of like his unlikability,” Fiennes says. On Butler’s casting, Fiennes said he wanted an actor with physical charisma. Someone the audience would believe as a contender. “People need to think he can win. Is Aufidius going to beat the s*** out of Coriolanus?”

Judging from this on-set knife fight still below, looks like this is going to be one gritty and bloody adaptation… not to mention explosive!

Writer Andreas Wiseman also posted his on-set experience and experience in the 30Ninjas blog. Looks like they’re going to use the Shakesperean words/dialog a la Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet. Sweeeet!

Coriolanus: “I’ll fight with none but thee, for I do hate thee.”

Aufidius responds with equal disdain: “We hate alike.”


Speaking of gritty and bloody, not much else conjures up such thought than The Expendables. Most of you probably have seen the poster I posted here, and now we’ve got the one featuring the full main cast. Funny how they start with a bald dude and ends with a bald dude 🙂

In case you’re at all interested about the plot:

THE EXPENDABLES is a hard-hitting action/thriller about a group of mercenaries hired to infiltrate a South American country and overthrow its ruthless dictator.  Once the mission begins, the men realize things aren’t quite as they appear, finding themselves caught in a dangerous web of deceit and betrayal.  With their mission thwarted and an innocent life in danger, the men struggle with an even tougher challenge – one that threatens to destroy this band of brothers. (per IMDb)

Looks like Sly pulls all the stops in the action stuff and the level of brute force one can jam into one movie. And if this photo of Jason Statham below is any indication, preposterous action sequences should be the order of the day!

How does one even get up ther … oh, never mind, just BRING. IT. ON!

The Expendables is out August 13.