Beowulf & Grendel

Release Date: June 16, 2006
Limited release

Warriors and ogres and olde english, oh my.

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Dan Rydell: I read "Beowulf" in three hours.
Casey McCall: How could you read "Beowulf" in three hours?
Dan: I didn't read it, really, but I saw the movie.
Casey: Uh, but there's no movie of "Beowulf".
Dan: What the hell movie did I see?

Good news, Dan! Beowulf as a movie is no longer reserved for witty Sports Night banter!

With the adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy proving so successful, it's only fitting that the epic poem that inspired Tolkien should get a similar theatrical representation. Beowulf is the ninth century Anglo-Saxon tale of a mythical, slightly egotistical hero's encounters with a monstrous troll named Grendel. The lasting fable of good conquering evil is arguably the most famous poem ever written. And now Scott Speedman, last seen going all werewolf on Kate Beckinsale, seeks to create Beowulf the hero in his own image.

Beowulf as a story is simple to describe. A young warrior aids a friend in need. He leads a group of warriors across the sea to wage war against a monster that has enslaved the town of Heorot for 13 years through a combination of violence and fear. This creature, Grendel, is the hellspawn of Cain, but still made of flesh and blood, so he can be killed. Knowing this, Hrothgar, the thane of the land, asks Beowulf to free the people from Grendel's tyranny. In doing so, he would prove himself to be the greatest warrior in the world.

If the movie follows the plot of the poem, the story does not end there, though. Grendel's mother comes out of her bog and seeks to destroy the mead hall of the Danes as revenge against the people who have killed her son. When Beowulf swims down to her underground lair (so *that* is where the cliche started!), Hrunting, the finest weapon in all the land which Unferth had given to him, is shattered. Grendel is forced to come up with an alternative plan if he wants to survive the night.

One interesting casting rumor is that Sean Connery is being pursued to play Hrothgar. This would be something of a masterstroke if it comes to pass. (David Mumpower/BOP)

May 31, 2004
Scottish actor Gerard Butler (Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life) has now taken on the lead role in this film, which has seen a title change to Beowulf & Grendel. According to Variety, filming is set to start in August and will take place in Iceland. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for Beowulf & Grendel
Main Cast Gerard Butler
Director Sturla Gunnarsson
Screenwriter Andrew Rai Berzins
Distributor Truly Indie
Rating Unrated
Running Time 103 minutes
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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