Jessica Chastain as: Salome
Directed by: Al Pacino
Screenplay by: Al Pacino
Based on: Salome (play) by Oscar Wilde
Selected Cast: Al Pacino, Kevin Anderson, Ralph Guzzo
Running Time: 95min
Release Date: September 3, 2011 (Venice)
Wide Release: August 10, 2013 (US)
The Biblical story of Salome, a girl who agrees to perform the “dance of the seven veils” in return for John the Baptist’s head on a silver platter.
In 2004, Chastain was working with Playwrights Horizons on a production of Rodney’s Wife, and she was recommended by her director Richard Nelson to Al Pacino, who was looking for an actress to star in his production of Salome. Despite written as a 16-year old, Chastain, who was close to 30 then, was cast in the lead. The play was staged in 2006 at the Wadsworth Theatre in Los Angeles, and Chastain later remarked that it helped bring her to the attention of several casting directors.
Pacino decided to shot a documentary to tells the story of how he came to do Oscar Wilde’s Salomé, in documentary style. He travels to the Mojave desert (“dessert?”), to Ireland and the UK to let the viewer take knowledge of who Oscar Wilde was as a private person and as a writer. Pacino invites the viewer to his love for Wilde and the story of Salomé in particular. You see rehearsals, custome meetings and more behind the scenes material. Celebrities like Gore Vidal and Bono are featured shortly to give their vision on Oscar Wilde.
The film premiered at the 68th Venice International Film Festival in 2011. At the festival, Pacino was presented with the Glory to the Filmmaker! Award and the film won the Queer Lion award.
The United States premiere of Wilde Salomé was held on March 21, 2012, at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco’s Castro District. Marking the 130th anniversary of Oscar Wilde’s visit to San Francisco, the premiere was a fundraiser for the GLBT Historical Society, with 1,000 tickets reserved for sale to the public.
A new version of the film without the documentary elements, titled Salomé, was released on August 10, 2013 in the United States and on September 21, 2014 in the United Kingdom and Ireland.