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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Well, that was interesting...

Apparently Natalie Portman is out of the Wuthering Heights project:

Natalie Portman has walked out of new film ‘Wuthering Heights’.

The Hollywood actress has reportedly left movie bosses fuming after quitting her role as Cathy Earnshaw in the big screen adaptation of Emily Bronte’s classic 1847 novel, despite having “seduced” them into giving her the part.

A movie insider told Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper: “It’s fair to say we were seduced by her and we should have been on our guard.”

Portman is said to have made a concerted effort to convince director John Maybury and producers Ecosse Films and HanWay Films to give her the role of Cathy, even convincing them to allow her casting approval over the choice of actor to portray her character’s lover Heathcliff.

‘Wuthering Heights’ producers refused to comment on Portman’s decision to pull out of the project.

Maybury is now looking for a new lead actress. Sienna Miller and Keira Knightley - who both star in his upcoming film ‘The Edge of Love’ - were both previously linked to the project.

That sounds pretty bizarre. If this is true, and she was so taken with the project, why give it up so soon? As an aside, I continue to find it amusing that Keira Knightley is suggested as the ideal actress- in some circles, mind you- for both Cathy and Jane. Maybe we need to have a few more actresses of substance out there to choose from? I don't know- I am still living under a pile of spiral bound notebooks.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

No Thanks.

The news of yet another adaptation of Jane Eyre is not going down well at all, if the buzz on the internet is any indication of the novel's fanbase. There seem to be very few who are looking forward to the film with anticipation, largely because it has only been two years since the BBCs hugely popular mini series. In short, it looks like fans of the novel are full and are perfectly willing to pass on seconds. In fact, a common response is to demand an adaptation of one of the other Bronte novels: Villette, or Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Villette has become a great favourite as an alternate film project. But, unless the BBC release their old Villette mini series, we probably will not be seeing one for some time yet.

Today, the news is all about trouble in the British film industry. Like the novel's fanbase, they are none too pleased with the new film but this time, the trouble is with casting.

"No one is doubting Ellen Page's acting abilities but why a BBC movie of Jane Eyre couldn't have a British actress in the lead is pretty hard to stomach," says a 'film industry insider' in the Daily Express.

Well, it was just two years ago that the BBC made a very nice mini with British actors in the lead roles.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A little recap...

Ellen Page will be our new Jane in a big screen adaptation of Jane Eyre.

Alison Owen of Ruby Films, who most recently produced "The Other Boleyn Girl," is working with BBC Films to develop the new adaptation of Bronte's classic 19th century romance. It's the story of a mousy governess who softens the heart of her surly employer Mr. Rochester, only to discover that he's hiding a terrible secret.

Moira Buffini has written the screenplay. No director is yet attached, but the producers are aiming to set the project up to shoot this fall.

Natalie Portman will be our new Cathy in a big screen adaptation of Wuthering Heights.

Natalie Portman is to play heroine Catherine Earnshaw in a new big-screen adaptation of Wuthering Heights.

The Jacket director John Maybury will helm the Ecosse Films production from a script by Olivia Hetreed (Girl With a Pearl Earring), claims The Hollywood Reporter.

Emily Bronte's 1847 novel revolves around the turbulent love affair between headstrong Catherine and her brooding adopted brother Heathcliff.

Keira Knightley and Lindsay Lohan were previously reported to be vying for the role, famously played by Merle Oberon opposite Laurence Olivier in 1939. A 1989 version starring Ralph Fiennes and Juliet Binoche performed poorly at the box office.

-From Digital Spy.

And, of course, we're still waiting on the Bronte biopic, the ITV Wuthering Heights, a touring version of Jane Eyre: The Musical, and an adaptation of Shirley.

Ellen Page to Star in New Jane Eyre Film

Thanks to Thisbeciel and Annie for the heads up. I might dig myself out of my thesis-bound semi-retirement to cover this one. I think my contacts in Los Angeles should come in handy...

By Steven Zeitchik

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Jane Eyre could be taking another swoon on the big screen -- with Ellen Page playing the iconic character.

BBC Films has signed on to develop an adaptation of the Charlotte Bronte novel and has attached Page to play Jane. Moira Buffini wrote the screenplay; a director has not yet been chosen.

The role would mark the first period piece for Page, who has signed on to a number of contemporary films since her Oscar-nominated turn in "Juno," including the roller-derby comedy "Whip It!" and the dramatic thriller "Peacock." She opted out of Sam Raimi's supernatural tale "Drag Me to Hell" this year, citing scheduling conflicts.

Bronte's 1847 novel tells the love story of a governess and her master, Edward Rochester, with Gothic flourishes. It's among the most-filmed English novels of all time, with well over a dozen productions reaching the big and small screens, including BBC-produced miniseries in 1973 and 2006. Among the actresses to play the title character over the years are Joan Fontaine, Susannah York and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter