Movie Review: With A Kiss I Die

With A Kiss I Die: Lesbian Movie Trailer Preview

Infusing new blood into a Shakespearean Classic, the film With A Kiss I Die explores the realization that love and loss are all part of life.

Filmed on the gorgeous Greek islands of Mykonos and Santorini,  With A Kiss I Die tells the story of Juliet Capulet (of Shakespearean fame) who is plucked from death and turned into a vampire.

She is forced to live all eternity without her sweet Romeo. Now, 800 years later, Juliet meets a young woman who captures her heart again.

But Juliet’s new family, headed by a blood-thirsty patriarch, disapproves of the pairing.

Juliet must once again choose between love and family obligations, terrified that repeating her past mistakes will lead to even more tragedy.

Directed by Ronnie Khalil under his Clownfish Productions marquee, the film stars Ella Kweku (Juliet Capulet) and newcomer Paige Emerson (Farryn), as well as top Greek actors from stage and screen George Kopsidas (Amaltheo) and Iaonnis Papazisis (cousin).

The film is a modern take on “Romeo and Juliet” (the most famous love story ever told). Juliet is not only cast as a black lead (playing a historically white character)  but is as well in a lesbian, interracial romance.

With a Kiss I Die was never intended to be an LGBT interracial vampire romance. But luckily several unexpected turns shaped the film into exactly that.

Looking to give the best parts to the best actors, not just actors that fit the mold, Khalil made the bold decision to cast a woman as Juliet’s love interest, as well as the decision to cast a black woman as Juliet, a historically Italian character.

“It was originally just a boy/girl love story but when we were casting, we liked a lot of the girls auditioning and my casting director suggested pairing them up,” says Khalil, “I was open to the idea and when we had them read together, it really made the script pop.”

Khalil, an Arab-American who is familiar with the struggles of being typecast, embraced the diversity without hesitation. It was a natural move for someone who had also spent years working to diversify Hollywood through his efforts with Arab and Muslim organizations.

He is is a well-known Arab-American comedian and filmmaker, and was named one of the “40 Most Powerful Arabs Under 40.”

As the character identities in With a Kiss I Die changed, Khalil and his writing team had choices to make, particularly about whether to alter the dialogue to accommodate two female leads. They decided to not to rewrite the script because characters changed gender.

After all, love is love.

Infusing new blood into a Shakespearean Classic, the film explores what it’s like to lose someone you love, the sense of guilt of falling in love again and the realization that love and loss are all part of life, and that a life without love is no life at all.

Watch on Apple TV

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