More News on Biopic 'Bronte'
At last we have some idea of what this long- very, very long-awaited biopic of the Bronte Sisters will look like thanks to this article from the Observer:
Among the Morris dancers and Bronte tea towels, there is little today in the Yorkshire village of Haworth to dispel romantic images of Charlotte, Emily and Anne strolling on sunlit moors, gaining inspiration for tales that would one day busy the costume drama industry.
It is harder to imagine dungheaps and foul drains, the open sewer in the street and the cholera and typhoid that killed most children before their sixth birthday. It is this dark vision of Bronte country that will be evoked in the first major British biopic of the literary household.
Bronte, likely to be filmed from October in a Yorkshire village that has yet to be chosen, will not replace chocolate-box images with black clouds and tragedy. The £6 million movie will argue that what the sisters achieved in spite of the death and disease was a miracle of imagination and nothing short of heroic.
Charlotte, best known for Jane Eyre, will be played by Michelle Williams, the American actress who starred alongside her partner, Heath Ledger, in Brokeback Mountain. The role of Emily, author of Wuthering Heights, has gone to Nathalie Press, who appeared in the recent BBC adaptation of Bleak House and the critically acclaimed film My Summer of Love. Anne, who with The Tenant of Wildfell Hall never matched the literary reputation of her siblings, will be portrayed by New Zealander Emily Barclay, who was in the film In My Father's Den.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers, seen opposite Scarlett Johansson in Woody Allen's Match Point, plays Branwell, a failed artist who turned to alcohol and opium, while Ben Chaplin plays the Rev Arthur Bell Nicholls, who married Charlotte nine months before her death. Brian Cox, the veteran film actor currently appearing in Tom Stoppard's Rock 'N' Roll on the London stage, plays the family patriarch, the Irish-born Rev Patrick Bronte, who outlived all his offspring.
The film seems to be a safe bet for producer AMC Pictures because of the world's seemingly insatiable appetite for all things Bronte.
'There was terrible disease in the town and burials in the ground around the Brontes every day,' said Angela Workman, the film's writer and director. 'Yet within this trauma they created and turned it into a heat and a life force.'
'There's a fear of telling this story because there's a fear it will be too depressing,' added Workman. 'There was great tragedy in their lives and they died young, but the lifespan for women in that region at that time was 25, and it occurred to me that the Brontes lived beyond that. For me, the story is about the way they defied death and created.'
From the suppressed emotion between Jane and Mr Rochester to the wild passion of Heathcliff and Cathy, many readers have speculated on the Victorian writers' sexual lives. Workman, a Canadian of British descent who spent four months researching at Haworth, said: 'Everyone talks about how passionate the books are. I think writing became an outlet for them. That will be in the film: a sexuality that emerges out of them in the way it does for people who can't express it, who are physical and temperamental. It comes out in their fantasies as they're playing, in the dirt, wind, rain, cold.'
Brian Cox said of his character, Patrick: 'He lived until his eighties and saw them all off - he was an extraordinary man. Haworth was one of the wettest places in the world: they were living in a permanent state of damp and were doomed from the start.'
ETA: The imdb.com page for 'Bronte' .