Saturday, April 30, 2011

Julie Taymor

Despite recent controversy over Julie Taymor and the “Spiderman” on Broadway debacle, she is in my opinion one of the best visual artists of the past few decades. I first gained interest in her when I saw her 2007 film “Across the Universe”. I watched the entire movie enthralled, but the best part was seeing the end credit fade onto the screen that said “Directed by Julie Taymor”. I was so excited to leave the movie inspired by the visual and auditory mastery, but I was just as excited to see that it had been directed by a woman.

Although it was my first time hearing about Taymor, she had already been accomplishing great career successes. She had already won a Tony for best costume design and was the first woman to win a Tony for direction of “The Lion King.” After such acclaim in the theatre world she made the transition into film where the only thing that rivaled her creativity was her persistence. “She's a fierce artist from the theater who believes in the power of her visual imagination. She will fight to the death to protect her art” (Thomson). When Revolution Studios’ chairman Joe Roth screened a shorter version of “Across the Universe” to an audience without Taymor’s knowledge, she didn’t let him get away with it. She fought to keep her cut as the final product that people would see and she succeeded.

Although there were mixed reviews of “Across the Universe”, it seemed like the well known critics were just as intrigued by it as I was. Rodger Ebert said that “Across the Universe” “is an audacious marriage of cutting-edge visual techniques, [and] heart-warming performances...” and even goes so far as to say that Taymor is a “choreographer” of visual images. The film also graced the top of the lists of notable critics as one of the best films of 2007.

In an interview Taymor describes her process as an inspiration of sorts. She is inspired by music, magazines and most importantly, words. “Words inspire me a lot to my visual imagery” says Taymor. But perhaps her ideology that I agree the most with, especially in this time where big budget movies seem to lack any artistic drive, is that cinema comes first. Yes, she was given 45 million to create this film, but it was spent to create a big budget film with an unexpected artistic and experimental motivation. She says “It’s got art in it, but not at the expense of entertainment.”

Works Cited:

Thomson, Anne. "Taymor flies 'Across the Universe'." Variety 6 September 2007: n. pag. Web. 29 Apr 2011. <>.

Ebert, Rodger. "Across the Universe." Chicago Times 14 September 2007: n. pag. Web. 28 Apr 2011. <>.


  1. Julie Taymor is the most interesting of directors, Because she is all about implemeting the use of Broadway Musical with drama. Good work.

  2. I personally LOVE Julie Taymor. "Across the Universe is my favorite modern musical. I find her use of rich color, elaborate sets and insane camera editing makes one hell of a great movie. Not to mention "Across the Universe was casted extremely well.

  3. Its only because of Julie Taymor that I wanted to see Spiderman. Her visuals are amazing and I have loved seeing her work.

  4. I had no idea that she has directed The Lion King and had won a Tony award for it! That show is BREATHTAKING, and to know now that a woman had a hand in the direction, makes the show even more gratifying. I had heard about the recent controversy surrounding Spiderman, and it's unfortunate. While I wasn't particularly fond of the idea of Spinderman on Broadway, it was a very interesting concept and better to see than another Broadway show by a narcissistic has-been, or a book that no one has ever read. I also took a look at some of the visual effects online and they are simply remarkable to say the least. Good choice.