The Australian filmmaker helmed a modern day version of Shakespeare’s tragic love story about two star-crossed lovers in 1996, with Leonardo and Claire Danes in the title roles. Twenty years on and the film is still much loved among fans, though at the time of release it caused a backlash with some because of its updated retelling of the classic play.

“Some people criticised the movie. You know like, ‘You can’t do that to Shakespeare'. But Shakespeare was a genius. I’m sure if he was alive, he would have been totally behind what Baz was trying to do,” Leonardo insisted to Britain’s Heat magazine.

As well as dressing the characters in modern clothes and having them drive around in cars, Baz also wanted to make the language sound like it was from the present day.

Actor Harold Perrineau, who played Mercutio, remembers being allowed to add his own interpretation of the words.

“Baz wanted to make sure we found very American-sounding voices for the characters. So, even if we were saying these very Old English sort of words, you’d still understand the pattern. Once, I was trying to find this sort of rap rhythm, and I remember doing this Biggie Smalls thing, and I was like, ‘Where da caaash at?’ Baz left it in the film, which I thought was really funny,” he smiled.

When it came to the chemistry between the film’s two leads, John Leguizamo, who starred as Tybalt, says Leonardo and Claire didn’t need to fake it.

“I think Leo and Claire had crushes on each other, but they kept it all very professional,” he admitted. “Nothing was ever done. And that’s great, because when you consummate an attraction, you defuse the tension on the screen.”