The Tempest (1998)

The Tempest

It is 1851, and Gideon Prosper (Peter Fonda) has abdicated his rightful position as overseer of Prosperity, the family plantation, choosing instead to devote his time to the study of magic and sorcery, leaving the day-to-day responsibility for the plantation to his scoundrel younger brother, Anthony (John Glover). When Gideon discovers that Anthony has been mistreating their slaves, he uses magic to save the life of Ariel (Harold Perrineau), a young slave whose mother has been teaching Prosper the art of magic. Anthony brings charges against Gideon - falsely accusing him of freeing Ariel. Just as Gideon is about to be executed, he manages to escape into the swamps with his young daughter, Miranda (Katherine Heigl), aided by an old family friend, Gonzo.

Some 12 years later, on the eve of the battle of Vicksburg, Prosper and 16-year-old Miranda are living contentedly in the bayou, along with Ariel, whom Prosper controls through a spell that transforms Ariel into a bird. When a young Union officer, Frederick (Eddie Mills), is wounded by Rebels while on a scouting mission and is rescued by Miranda, Prosper's harmonious bayou retreat is threatened. Frederick and Miranda fall instantly in love. But when Prosper disapproves of Frederick, Miranda chooses to leave her father and the bayou, guiding Frederick through the swamp back to his regiment.

Meanwhile, Anthony and Gonzo are involved in a plot to lead the Union soliders into an ambush at Vicksburg, when they discover that Prosper is alive. And Ariel demands that Prosper release him from the spell and grant him freedom so that he can help the Union troops. In spite of Prosper's attempt to escape the real world on his remote bayou island, he now must use his most powerful magic to protect his daughter, not only from Frederick, but from the base swamp dweller, Gator Man (John Pyper-Ferguson). He must confront his murderous brother and help the North defeat the South. But his toughest challenge is to give those he cares about, Miranda and Ariel, the freedom to make their own choices and mistakes.

Director: Jack Bender

Writers: James Henerson and William Shakespeare

Producer: James Bigwood

Executive Producers: Bonnie Raskin and Jack Bender

Also Starring: Peter Fonda, John Glover, Harold Perrineau, John Pyper-Ferguson and Eddie Mills