Paolo Roversi’s 2020 Pirelli Calendar “Looking for Juliet”, premiered in Verona at the Teatro Filarmonico, draws inspiration from Shakespeare’s timeless drama. For this 47th edition of The Cal™, Roversi has tapped into the “Juliet that exists in every woman” and, in a first for the Calendar, accompanied the photography with a short film.
The American actor and comedian Whoopi Goldberg presided at the presentation of the 2020 edition, reciting some passages from Shakespeare’s play and sharing some personal reflections on the work.
The Calendar photographic shoot unfolds in two phases. In the first, the women arrive at the set, without makeup or costumes. Among them are Claire Foy, Mia Goth, Chris Lee, Indya Moore, Rosalía, Stella Roversi, Yara Shahidi, Kristen Stewart and Emma Watson, who pass one-by-one before the photographer’s lens to portray the multifaceted “Juliet” with a broad range of emotions and expressions.
They sit and talk with Roversi about the project. They tell him about their own experiences and their idea of Juliet. In this way, they reveal something of their intimate, personal side. In the second phase, they put on the costumes designed to transform them for their personal interpretations of Shakespeare’s heroine. The idea is to tell a story in which reality and fiction dovetail and the distinctions blur, as in a hazy photograph.
“I was looking for a pure soul, someone full of innocence that combined strength, beauty, tenderness and courage,” observes Roversi. “I found this in the glimmers of an eye, in the gestures and words of Emma and Yara, Indya and Mia. And in the smiles and tears of Kristen and Claire. In the voice and chants of Chris and Rosalía. And in Stella, the innocence. Because there’s a Juliet in every woman,” he concludes. “And I will never stop looking for her.”
The photo-shoot took place last May and, perhaps surprisingly, the 2020 Pirelli Calendar is the first created by an Italian photographer, who chose Verona, the city that is indelibly tied to the young woman’s fate, as the location; as well as Paris, where Roversi has lived for the past forty years.
As a passionate opera-lover, Roversi’s sought a concept that merged an entirely original graphic expression closely based on the opera libretto. The 2020 Calendar comprises 132 pages, with the monthly calendar on the cover, along with sections of Shakespeare’s Roméo et Juliette and fifty-eight photos in both colour and black-and-white capturing the story’s protagonists with the city of Verona as a backdrop. The cover opens onto a drawing of a firmament representing the universe and its conceptual ties with Juliet and the everlasting story of her love. The front and back covers are emblazoned with the gilded letters of the calendar itself, highlighting the date of Juliet’s birth, her first meeting with Romeo, their wedding, and their death. These dates are complemented by those of the births of the stars of the calendar, whose names are scattered on the cover, amidst constellations, creating a sort of poetic firmament.