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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 November, 2004, 01:12 GMT
Prince attends Merchant premiere
Al Pacino and Lynn Collins
Stars of the film Al Pacino and Lynn Collins at the London premiere
Prince Charles attended the London premiere of The Merchant of Venice on Monday evening and met an old friend - Hollywood actor Al Pacino.

Directed by Michael Radford, the Shakespeare adaptation stars Pacino, Joseph Fiennes and Jeremy Irons, with Lynn Collins as Portia.

The Prince attended the event at the Odeon, Leicester Square, in his role as president of the Prince's Trust.

By the end of the night, 170,000 had been raised for the youth charity.

Muslin robe

Prince Charles and Pacino, 64, have been friends for years and keep in touch by letter.

During a visit to Highgrove in 1997, the actor was reportedly astonished to see his host clad in a full-length muslin robe.

At the premiere, the Prince took the opportunity to introduce his Hollywood friend - dressed in a tuxedo and scruffy trainers - to Camilla Parker Bowles.

The film, which also stars The Office's Mackenzie Crook, was first shown at the Venice Film Festival in September.

No seat

Its screening made headlines after a ticketing glitch left Al Pacino without a seat at his own premiere.

The actor plays as Shylock, and he has called for more Shakespeare plays to be made into films.

"In the theatre you are watching it as it happens and listening to the words.

"But in a movie you have the opportunity to cut away, to go in for close-ups, to bring in a different dynamic to a scene."

British are best

Pacino has previously said that Americans cannot perform Shakespeare as well as the British.

He said: "The British do Shakespeare great, because they've had a history of doing it.

"The British have encouraged us Americans, but I don't think anybody will ever have the elocution and the taste of words the way some of your actors have."

US actress Collins previously appeared in Down With Love and 13 Going On 30.

Al Pacino says Shakespeare should be made into more films


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