One of William Shakespeare's lesser-known plays, Titus Andronicus was staged in New York by award-winning theatrical director Julie Taymor in an acclaimed 1995 production, before her widely praised Broadway version of The Lion King. Taymor revisits that production for her first motion picture, with the addition of a star-studded cast. Roman General Titus Andronicus (Anthony Hopkins) has returned from defeating the Goths in a bloody battle, but the victory has left him with mixed feelings, as the war took the lives of several of his sons. Titus is reminded by his first-born son Lucius (Angus Macfadyen) that their faith demands the sacrifice of an enemy prisoner as a gift to the gods for their victory. Titus chooses the eldest son of Tamora (Jessica Lange), the Queen of the Goths, who has since been taken hostage by Titus's troops. Tamora pleads for her son's life, but Titus goes ahead with the sacrifice. She then becomes the lover of the new emperor of Rome, Saturninus (Alan Cumming), a weak-willed and corrupt man. Tamora uses her connection to the throne for her own ends: in retaliation for the death of her son, Tamora and her surviving sons, Chiron (Jonathan Rhys Myers) and Demetrius (Matthew Rhys), brutally rape Titus's beloved daughter, Lavinia (Laura Fraser). This act sets in motion an ever-tightening spiral of revenge and retaliation that leaves few of the participants unscathed. The supporting cast includes Colm Feore as Marcus, Harry Lennix as Aaron, and James Frain as Bassianus.