Date: 23rd May 2003

Pacino takes on Shakespeare's Shylock

Al Pacino is set to star alongside Sir Ian McKellen in a film version of The Merchant of Venice.

Pacino will play Shylock in the $30 million movie, while Sir Ian will take the part of Antonio.

Shakespeare In Love star Joseph Fiennes is tipped for the romantic lead of Bassanio and Cate Blanchett as the heroine Portia.

The film will be directed by Michael Radford, the British director whose previous credits include Il Postino and White Mischief.

The British-Italian film will start shooting in Venice in September.

The Merchant of Venice will be a 16th century period adaptation in a "stylised fashion", according to producer Cary Brokaw.

"Shakespeare's story of conflict and religious persecution has a tremendous contemporary resonance," he said.

Pacino, 63, has previously played Richard III on stage and made it the subject of a documentary film, Looking For Richard.

Source: Press Release