Jeremy Irons wasn't British director Michael Radford's first choice to

play ANTONIO in the new movie adaptation of William Shakespeare's THE

MERCHANT OF VENICE, but he admits he was a better choice.

The BRIDESHEAD REVISITED star stepped in to play the Venetian nobleman

in the film after LORD OF THE RINGS star SIR Ian McKellen dropped out

due to scheduling problems. And Radford admits McKellen's timing

problems helped him find his perfect Antonio. The IL POSTINO director

says, "The thing about Ian McKellen is he's much older, and he's not a

movie actor. He became a bit of a movie star, but he's not really a

movie actor, which Jeremy Irons is. "When Ian dropped out, I suddenly

thought of Jeremy. As I thought of him, I thought, `My goodness me, this

actually is the perfect person because he has such a magnetic quality on

screen, and he has a kind of melancholy about him."

30/12/2004 01:09