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Al Pacino took pay cut to star in 'Venice'

May 13, 2004 at 4:24 PM

CANNES, France, May 13 (UPI) -- Al Pacino wanted so much to star in "The Merchant of Venice," a new film promoted at the Cannes Film Festival, he waived his multi-million dollar salary.

Pacino portrays Shylock in the British production by Oscar-winning director Michael Radford, a role the veteran actor has wanted for years, The Times of London reported Thursday.

"I feel I've always been destined to play Shylock," Pacino said, who reportedly took only a fraction of his normal $17 million fee to star in the film.

Pacino may be best known for his tough guy roles in "The Godfather" franchise and "Scarface," but Shakespeare has been the actor's lifelong passion, the Times said.

The production also boasts an A-list cast of British stars, including Joseph Fiennes and Jeremy Irons. Lynne Collins, a new U.S. actress getting rave reviews, plays Portia.

A royal charity premiere is set in November for the film.

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