Hulu’s latest rom-com puts a twist on Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet story: it’s told from the perspective of Rosaline, Romeo’s ex.
The feature follows Rosaline (Kaitlyn Dever) as she initially schemes to win back Romeo. But in true Shakespeare (and rom-com) fashion, her true love may be someone else entirely…
Rosaline blends classic visuals with modern language to create a film that feels both like a modern romantic comedy and like a classic Shakespeare story. Director Karen Maine said that unique stylistic blend helped draw her to the film.
“The idea to set it in the classic Renaissance period with this modern language and the modern sensibilities and themes just would create this – in my mind – this perfect juxtaposition of old and new that just really nailed the comedy and let it shine,” Maine said during a press conference for the film.
One of the key elements bringing both worlds together – and landing some good laughs along the way – is the music in Rosaline.
“The music was really great because we’ve used modern elements like synth, but also a lot of old period instruments from the time, like lutes and flutes and harpsichords and all that. So, it’s really walking that anachronistic line between period and modern, that makes everything pop,” Maine explained. “I didn’t limit myself. There’s new stuff. There’s old stuff… the music’s amazing.”
Maine said she always makes a Spotify playlist for every film she directs. And star Dever likes to make them for the characters she plays, too. (One of the songs from Dever’s personal “Rosaline” playlist even made it into the film’s end credits: “Enough For Now” by Ethan Gruska, featuring Phoebe Bridgers.)
Beyond musical inspiration, a few of the actors admitted to channeling other performers for their roles to hit Rosaline’s unique tone and mix of modernity and Shakespeare.
Minnie Driver, who plays the Nurse, had a very specific approach in mind for her character.
“It was the worst part at drama school. Nobody ever wanted to be the Nurse because it was like the boring old person. But now in this, she’s obviously youthful and vigorous and extremely funny,” said Driver. “I was just John Cleese. ‘Come on. Get up. You don’t have cholera. Get up.’ That was what I did.”
Similarly, Sean Teale said he chose to channel Cary Elwes while playing Rosaline’s rival-turned-love-interest, Dario.
“I grew up watching medieval comedies. You know, Princess Bride, anything Cary Elwes did. I watched Robin Hood: Men in Tights way more times than I should have. And so, when I was thinking about Dario, and I was like, he’s quite cool, but I’m not… and I’m a bit goofy, really. I just try to be a bit silly like Cary would be, you know?” said Teale.
Teale also compared the romance between Dario and Rosaline to 10 Things I Hate About You, another Shakespeare-inspired rom-com. (You know, just in case you need another reason to watch this movie.)
Rosaline premieres on Hulu October 14.