Cyrano, with Peter Dinklage in the title role, retains the core of the original story, but the writer and director takes creative liberties.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for Cyrano.
Cyrano, the last film adaptation of the French play from 1897 Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand, made some big changes to the source material. Directed by Joe Wright from a screenplay by Erica Schmidt, Cyrano stars Game of thrones’ Peter Dinklage as the main character. Although it takes place during the time it was written, Cyrano the film took creative liberties.
Cyrano de Bergerac – who is a skillful blacksmith, poet and swordsman – is deeply in love with Roxanne (Haley Bennett). However, as he’s about to finally admit his long-standing feelings for her, she reveals that she has fallen in love with Christian (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), a soldier she meets while attending a play. local theater. Learning that he belongs to the same regiment as Cyrano, Roxanne asks her friend to ensure Christian’s safety. Believing that Roxanne will never return her affection to her, Cyrano offers to write letters to her on behalf of Christian, who has also fallen in love with her.
While the period piece remains fairly faithful to the source material for the most part, Cyrano changes quite a few key moments in the story, many of which help distinguish it from the original piece. Here are the biggest changes Cyrano made from history.
The film Cyrano is a musical adaptation
by Wright Cyrano This is the first time that the play has been turned into a musical film. The adaptation contains a plethora of songs – with music by Aaron and Bryan Dessner, lyrics by Matt Berninger and Carin Besser – that move the script forward, complementing the dialogue and Cyrano’s own lyrical letters to Roxanne. With more than ten songs, Cyrano is based more on the stage musical adaptation of Erica Schmidt (who also wrote the screenplay for the film), which originally starred Dinklage and Bennett in their respective roles. Before the last iteration of Cyrano, Rostand’s source material has been adapted to the big screen in a variety of ways – whether as a modern take on the story, like the 1987 comedy Roxane, by netflix Sierra Burgess is a loser, or as part of episodes of TV shows like The Brady Group. Music in Cyrano Specifically amplifies the famous balcony scene and even makes the battle scene sadder.
Cyrano changed the reason for his insecurity
In the original play, Cyrano had an incredibly large nose which made him insecure of being loved; this was one of its most defining characteristics. In the film, Cyrano doesn’t have this problem. On the contrary, the character of Dinklage is unsure of his size and of being regarded as less than by society for his physical appearance, as well as his social standing. He is terrified of Roxanne’s rejection, believing that she could never love him for who he is despite being friends since childhood (they are cousins in the original play).
Screenwriter Schmidt says she wanted to change Cyrano’s insecurity about the original play because they were always good looking actors who wore prosthetic noses for the role and could take it off afterwards. They weren’t affected by Cyrano’s big nose when they weren’t playing it anymore. Talk with Hollywood journalist, Schmidt “wondered what it would be like if you got rid of this, if what about himself made him unkind. [wasn’t so obvious]. In addition to the change in the character’s main insecurity, he also has a pride issue that bothers him quite often.
Roxanne never goes to the war front in Cyrano
In the original play, Roxanne manages to cross enemy lines to see Christian, who was sent to the frontline alongside Cyrano to fight in combat. She also sees Christian being shot, which devastates and shocks her. However, in the musical adaptation of Cyrano, Roxanne remains there when Christian and Cyrano go to war and she cannot see Christian again because he dies. This change makes more sense in the film as Roxanne is still in shock that de Guiche, whom she was to marry, just called Christian to war immediately after their marriage. His sudden arrival at the front and being able to see the troops would have added nothing to the story. Not being there actually makes the loss of Christian and what happens next all the more emotionally powerful.
Cyrano’s musical adaptation doesn’t have a 15-year time jump
After Christian’s death and Cyrano’s decision to break his friend’s vow to tell Roxanne the truth, Rostand’s story moves forward 15 years. Roxanne now lives in a convent and Cyrano visits her once a week to give her news from the outside world. While Roxanne lives in a convent after Christian’s death, that she still cries, by Cyrano the musical adaptation modifies it so that the events do not take place until two to three years after the battle. Cyrano still visits Roxanne and refuses to tell her the truth, but the much smaller time gap makes the ending a bit easier to digest as it would have been pretty blatant to think that Cyrano kept Roxanne a secret for 15 years old. With the ending coming after only a few years, Roxanne’s life also seems less tragic, with the possibility that she may find another love later more likely than the original finale.
Cyrano’s last words before dying are different in a musical film
When Cyrano dies in Rostand’s room, he says the last thing that will come with him when he’s gone is his plume. In the musical, however, Roxanne realizes that he was the one who wrote the letters and told Cyrano what he always wanted to hear: that she love him. They share a kiss, but it’s not her panache that is referenced in her last breath. On the contrary, Cyrano says he liked her pride more than Roxanne in the end.
It’s a poignant and honest moment that essentially defines Cyrano’s behavior and choices to hide the truth of his feelings for Roxanne after all these years. This shows that it was not just his insecurities that kept him from revealing his emotions, but his sense of ego. Another change in the final scene is that Cyrano dies in Roxanne’s arms, without anyone else (unlike the play which includes other characters). This is given their final farewells and revelations at the end of Cyrano an added touch of intimacy and tragedy, further distinguishing it from the source material.
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