Sticks and Stoners: The New Redband Your Highness Trailer
If Oscar prognosticators online are to be trusted, next spring James Franco and Natalie Portman will be coming off nominations, and possible wins, for demanding, bravura performances in 127 Hours and Black Swan, respectively. Industry eyes, and those of cinephiles around the globe, will be on them to curtsy to the Academy’s whims, to follow up with works that again boldly remark upon the human condition. And oh how they shall come April 8, when they will combine forces on screen… in a mead-and-weed R-rated epic entitled Your Highness.
Raise the goblet of unlikeliness even higher. The film will feature Eastbound & Down‘s Danny McBride affecting a studious British accent in the role of a pompous, debased medieval prince named Thadeous. Franco will, naturally, reunite with his Pineapple Express costar, playing his distinguished older sibling: a prince named Fabious. Meanwhile, Portman will don a bow and arrow as a beautiful loner warrior. A new, very entertaining red band trailer [ABOVE] is here to put your mind and “triangle face” at ease. In the hours since it premiered, screenshots of Portman’s warrior, her bottom blessed in a golden thong, have flooded Tumblr. Hey now.
Other standout shots from the trailer introduce the film’s villain, a sartorial wizard of sarcasm named Leezer, played by Justin Theroux, his ‘do conjuring Gary Oldman’s Dracula. There’s a cool glimpse of a hard-charging minotaur, if not the creature’s substantial package that only weeks ago sent geeks at New York Comic-Con into cryptozoological hysterics. The trailer is high on anachronistic improv, but also supports recent claims, from director David Gordon Green and his longtime cinematographer Tim Orr, that Your Highness is a not Zucker Brothers-esque send up. Instead, Green has said that he and McBride aspired to make a profanely sincere tribute to ’80s fantasy-sorcerer flicks like Krull and Dragonslayer. The action and special effects are said to run the gamut of CGI, old school puppetry, and animatronics. Not shown: rumored copious gore and generous helpings of severed limbs. Veteran Brit thespians Charles Dance and Toby Jones lend dramatic weight. And Zooey Deschanel plays a characteristically spacey love interest of Franco, a Repunzelish virgin named Belladonna.
Of late, Universal Pictures has not faired well with costly albeit well-intentioned fanboy gambles like Land of the Lost and Scott Pilgrim, but judging by the footage’s early reception, the studio may hit pay dirt with this Ireland-lensed riot. Green, it should be noted, is in no rush to revisit his roots in heart-tugging Southern indie dramas (George Washington). He’s currently in NYC shooting The Sitter, a coke-run comedy starring Jonah Hill, Max Records, and Sam Rockwell that opens next summer.