Stardust is a 2007 romantic fantasy film from Paramount Pictures, directed by Matthew Vaughn. The film is based on Neil Gaiman's novel Stardust and stars an ensemble cast including Charlie Cox, Ben Barnes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Claire Danes, Sienna Miller, Mark Strong, Jason Flemyng, Rupert Everett, Ricky Gervais, David Walliams, Nathaniel Parker, Peter O'Toole, David Kelly (in his final film role), Robert De Niro, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Mark Heap and Henry Cavill. Narration is by Ian McKellen.
In 2008, it won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form.
A village lies near a gap in a stone wall bordering the magical kingdom of Stormhold. The gap is guarded constantly but Dunstan Thorn manages to go through and meets an enslaved princess, Una. She offers him a glass snowdrop in exchange for a kiss. Nine months later, the Wall Guard delivers a baby to Dunstan, saying his name is Tristan.
Eighteen years later, the dying king of Stormhold throws a ruby into the sky, decreeing that his successor will be the first of his fratricidal sons to recover it. The gem hits a star, they fall together and the remaining sons, Primus and Septimus independently search for the gem.
In Wall, Tristan sees the star fall and vows to get it for the object of his infatuation, Victoria, in return for her hand in marriage. Tristan learns that his mother is from beyond the wall, and receives a Babylon candle that she had left for him, which instantly takes the user to any desired location. Tristan lights it and is transported to the fallen star, personified as a beautiful woman named Yvaine. He promptly chains her to take her home to Victoria.
Three ancient witches in Stormhold resolve to eat the fallen star's heart to recover their youth and replenish their powers. Their leader, Lamia, eats the remnants of an earlier star's heart, and sets off to find Yvaine. She conjures up a wayside inn as a trap.
Yvaine becomes tired, so Tristan chains her to a tree and promises to bring food. In his absence, a unicorn releases her but unwittingly takes her to Lamia's inn. Tristan discovers Yvaine gone, but the stars whisper that she is in danger, telling him to get on a passing stagecoach, which happens to be Primus's. At the inn, they interrupt Lamia's attempt to kill Yvaine. Lamia kills Primus, but Tristan and Yvaine use the Babylon candle to escape into the clouds, where they are captured by pirates in a flying ship who teach Tristan how to fence.
Septimus discovers that, as the last surviving son, he need only find the stone to claim the throne. He learns it is in the possession of the fallen star and realises that the heart of a star grants immortality.
After leaving Captain Shakespeare's ship, Tristan and Yvaine confess their love for one another and spend the night together at an inn. Come morning, Tristan leaves Yvaine sleeping and goes to Wall with a lock of her hair, to tell Victoria he won't marry her, having fallen in love with Yvaine. When the lock turns to dust, he realises Yvaine will die if she crosses the wall, and rushes back to save her.
Yvaine finds Tristan gone, and starts walking towards the wall, thinking he abandoned her for Victoria. Tristan's mother Una notices Yvaine walking to her doom, so takes the caravan of her enslaver, a witch named Ditchwater Sal, to the wall to stop her. Lamia arrives, kills Sal, and captures Una and Yvaine, taking them to the witches' castle. Septimus and Tristan both pursue Lamia, agreeing to work together for the time being. Barging into the castle, Septimus recognises the princess as his long-lost sister and Una informs Tristan that she is his mother.
Septimus and Tristan kill two of the witches, but Lamia uses a voodoo doll to kill Septimus and make his corpse fight Tristan. Lamia is about to finish Tristan off, when she appears to break down over the loss of her sisters. Lamia frees Yvaine but her feigned defeat was just a ruse to bolster Yvaine's broken heart. As Tristan and Yvaine embrace, their love allows her to shine once again, vaporising Lamia in a blinding flash of starlight.
Tristan retrieves the jewel that Yvaine was wearing. Una explains that, as her son, Tristan is the last male heir of Stormhold. He becomes king with Yvaine as his queen whilst Dunstan and Una are reunited. After 80 years of ruling Stormhold, they use a Babylon candle to ascend to the sky, where Tristan also becomes a star and the pair live forever in the sky.
- Charlie Cox as Tristan Thorn
- Claire Danes as Yvaine, the fallen star
- Michelle Pfeiffer as Lamia, main witch
- Joanna Scanlan as Mormo, one of the witches
- Sarah Alexander as Empusa, one of the witches
- Robert De Niro as Captain Shakespeare of the Caspartine, a famous pirate
- Peter O'Toole as the King of Stormhold
- Mark Strong as Prince Septimus, the youngest of the seven Stormhold princes
- Jason Flemyng as Prince Primus, the firstborn son of the king
- Rupert Everett as Prince Secundus
- Mark Heap as Prince Tertius
- Julian Rhind-Tutt as the ghost of Prince Quartus
- Adam Buxton as the ghost of Prince Quintus
- David Walliams as the ghost of Prince Sextus
- Nathaniel Parker as Dunstan Thorn, Tristan's father
- Ben Barnes as young Dunstan Thorn
- Sienna Miller as Victoria Forester, Tristan's crush
- Henry Cavill as Humphrey, Victoria's boyfriend
- David Kelly as the wall guard
- Kate Magowan as Princess Una, Tristan's mother and captive of the witch Ditchwater Sal
- Melanie Hill as Ditchwater Sal
- Ricky Gervais as Ferdy the Fence, a frequent client of Shakespeare
- Mark Williams as Billy, a goat converted into human form
- Jake Curran as Bernard, a country boy first turned into a goat, then a beautiful young woman
- Olivia Grant as Bernard, when he has been converted into a beautiful young woman
- George Innes as the Soothsayer
- Dexter Fletcher as the skinny pirate
- Coco Sumner as Ingrid, Yvaine's sister
- Ian McKellen as The Narrator
The 1998 fantasy novel Stardust by Neil Gaiman was first optioned for the movies by Miramax in 1998â"99. According to Gaiman, the film went "through an unsatisfactory development period", and he recovered the rights after they expired. Eventually, discussions about a film version of Stardust began taking place between Gaiman, director Terry Gilliam and Matthew Vaughn. After Gilliam dropped out following his involvement with The Brothers Grimm, Vaughn left the talks to direct Layer Cake. Gaiman and Vaughn resumed talks after the director walked away from helming the film X-Men: The Last Stand and in January 2005, Vaughn acquired the option to develop the film adaptation. In October 2005, the director entered final negotiations with Paramount Pictures to direct and produce Stardust with a budget estimated at US$70 million.
The adapted screenplay was written by Vaughn and screenwriter Jane Goldman. When asked how the book inspired his vision for the movie, Vaughn said that he wanted "to do Princess Bride with a Midnight Run overtone." One of the difficulties with adapting the novel was its earnest and dark nature: an adult fairy tale in which sex and violence are presented unflinchingly. As a result of changes, the movie version has a greater element of whimsy and humour, with Gaiman's blessing given to the screenwriters. Gaiman did not want people to go to the theatre to see a film that attempted to be completely loyal to Stardust the book and failed. After creating the audiobook version of the novel, Gaiman realised that there were 10Â½Â hours of material in the book. This led him to acknowledge that the film would have to compress the novel, leaving out portions of the work. Budgetary concerns also factored into the adaptation, even with the level of 2006 technology.
Vaughn and Goldman decided that the witches needed names (as in the book they were collectively the Lilim and their names were lost beneath the sea); their Classical decisions included a reference to The Books of Magic (Empusa) and Neverwhere (Lamia).
On the film's differences from the novel, Gaiman commented: "I sort of feel like my grounding in comics was actually very useful, because in my head, that's just the Earth-Two version of Stardust. It's a parallel Earth version of Stardust, which has Robert De Niro and stuff. And I get people who come to the book from having loved the movie who are really disappointed at some of the stuff that isn't there that Matthew brought."
In March 2006, the studio cast Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, and Sienna Miller. Production began in the UK and Iceland in April 2006, with the majority of filming taking place in the UK. Vaughn himself picked Danes, Cox and Pfeiffer for their roles. He intended Captain Shakespeare to be played by either DeÂ Niro or Jack Nicholson. Stephen Fry was pitched as a possible Shakespeare, but Vaughn eventually picked DeÂ Niro. Sarah Michelle Gellar was offered the role of Yvaine but turned it down to spend more time with her husband, Freddie Prinze, Jr. Cox was tentatively cast as Tristan, but to ensure the leads had "chemistry" on screen Vaughn would not confirm the casting until the both leads were cast. Vaughn had Cox audition alongside the prospective leading ladies, until the female lead was cast.
The role of Quintus was originally given to comedian Noel Fielding, but due to health issues he had to drop out, and was replaced by fellow comedian Adam Buxton.
In mid-April 2006, principal photography started on Stardust. The production was filmed at Pinewood Studios in London. Location filming started in Wester Ross, in the Scottish Highlands followed immediately by filming on the Isle of Skye. Some parts of the film were also shot in Iceland.
Several weeks of location filming also took place in the woods and the Golden Valley near Ashridge Business school, Hertfordshire in the village of Little Gaddesden in June and July. In summer 2006, there was some filming at Stowe School in Buckinghamshire and in the village of Castle Combe, Wiltshire. Some of the scenes requiring wide open spaces for riding and coach scenes were filmed at Bicester Airfield in Oxfordshire. Filming was finished by 13 July 2006.
One film location was on Elm Hill in Norwich. The area, with a mixture of Tudor and medieval buildings dating as far back as the 11thÂ century, was transformed into the streets of Stormhold. The Briton's Arms tea house became the Slaughtered Prince public house. The owners were so enthralled with the new look, including a spectacular mural and new thatching, that they appealed to the local council and English Heritage to keep it. However, their request was refused.
Stardust was well received by test audiences. Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura was surprised when the film was well received across all demographics, despite the film not having been designed for everyone, expecting instead for parts of the audience to feel the film wasn't for them. In their feedback audiences agreed it was not a fairytale, giving various descriptions of it, such as an adventure with magical elements.
Stardust was released on 10 August 2007 in the United States in 2,540 theatres, earning US$9,169,779 in its opening weekend (an average of $3,610 per theatre). The film also opened the same day in Russia and the rest of the Commonwealth of Independent States, earning $8,118,263 as of 14 October 2007. Stardust has earned a total of $135,553,760 worldwide. Its biggest markets were the US where it made $38Â million, and the UK where it made $31Â million (approximately Â£19.5Â million GBP).
The film was released to positive reviews. The film rates 66/100 at the movie review aggregator Metacritic based on 33Â reviews. On another aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes, the film was judged "certified fresh" given 76% rating, based on reviews from 186 critics. Stardust was released in the UK and Ireland on 19 October 2007, where it spent 8Â weeks in the box office top ten.
Associated Press film critic David Germain named the film the No. 7 best film of 2007. The New Yorkerââ'âs Bruce Diones called it "more surprising and effective than the usual kiddie-matinÃ©e madness." While Roger Ebert called it a "fun" movie and gave it a positive rating of 2.5 out of 4 stars, he criticised the pacing as being cluttered and unfocused. Philip French of The Observer asserted that the film "fails on every level and plumbs new depths of camp embarrassment."
The film was released on both Region 1 DVD and HD DVD on 18 December 2007. The DVD was released in both Fullscreen and Widescreen aspect ratios. The HD DVD and DVD special features include:
- Good Omens: The Making of Stardust
- Deleted scenes
- Blooper reel
- Theatrical trailer
The film and special features on the HD DVD version are presented in 2.35:1 Widescreen high definition 1080p and feature a Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio soundtrack.
The film was released on Region A Blu-ray Disc (Canada and US) on 7 September 2010.
- After watching an early cut, English pop band Take That wrote and recorded a song for the film titled "Rule the World", featuring Gary Barlow on lead vocals. The song features in the end credits to the film and was released as a single on 22 October 2007 in the UK where it peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart.
- US record label Decca Records released a soundtrack album featuring Ilan Eshkeri's score on 11 September 2007, but "Rule the World" was not included.
- Dimmu Borgir's song "Eradication Instincts Defined" is featured in both the UK and US trailers.
- Prelude 2 in C Minor from the first book of the "Well-Tempered Clavier" by Johann Sebastian Bach was adapted for use in the first part of the scene at Lamia's Inn.
- Slavonic Dances, Op. 46, No. 6 in D Major by AntonÃn DvoÅÃ¡k was adapted for use for the dancing scene aboard the flying ship.
- "The Galop Infernal" from Jacques Offenbach's "Orpheus in the Underworld", more commonly known as the "Can-Can", plays during the fight between Captain Shakespeare's men and Septimus's men on board the sky vessel.
- Official website
- Stardust at the Internet Movie Database
- Stardust at AllMovie
- Stardust at Rotten Tomatoes
- Stardust at Metacritic
- Stardust at Box Office Mojo