CATEGORIES Classics, Independent, Romance, Casting, RumorMonger, Newsstand, Johnny Depp, Remakes and Sequels, Movie News, CinematicalThe timing of some stories is just creepy. I was just selling the virtues of Wuthering Heights to my cousin, and what do I find on The Hollywood Reporter the same day? A new version is underway -- and Natalie Portman is set to tackle the famous character of Catherine Earnshaw.
Despite my medieval specialty, Wuthering Heights is my favorite book. I love it more than anything. It has everything -- ghosts, a Byronic hero (who you aren't supposed to love -- but I do anyway), a twisted love affair, sadistic revenge, even a dose of necrophilia. (Not that I roll with that sort of thing, but it's noteworthy in a Victorian novel.) I have never seen a film version, not even Lawrence Olivier's, because I never wanted my vision spoiled.
So, I confess I am immediately biased. But I cannot see Portman as Cathy. Look, I like her -- and I think she is very talented. Her youth works in her favor. But Cathy is psychotic and deeply unlikeable, something I have never seen in Portman. (Not even in Closer or The Other Boleyn Girl.) Ideal casting would have been Angelina Jolie in her Girl, Interrupted days, or Kate Winslet fresh off Heavenly Creatures. That's Cathy Earnshaw.
The producers disagree with me, naturally. "Natalie is without a doubt one of the most acclaimed actresses of her generation," HanWay's Tim Haslam said. "Combined with visionary director John Maybury, this promises to be a fresh, exciting version of a classic love story."
Before I go on and on, let me add a few more details. John Maybury is directing, and the script is being penned by Olivia Hetreed, who was behind Girl With a Pearl Earring. It's being produced by Ecosse Films, and distributed by HanWay films.
No word on who is to play Heathcliff. He's supposed to be around Cathy's age, so who knows what young stud they will pick. As he has never been accurately cast as a swarthy gypsy/Slav, I doubt he will be in this version either. The only two "big" actors I could stomach are Johnny Depp or Gerard Butler -- and neither are close enough to Portman's age. (And Depp's Sweeney Todd was Heathcliff in so many ways, I doubt he would take it.) I remember that Depp was once rumored to be in talks for a version with Angelina Jolie, but I was always doubtful it was true -- but hey, why not fan the flames again. And to add fuel to that speculation fire, Butler just recently told his fan sites that he was looking at a few literary adaptations. Is this one of them?
There has to be some other Wuthering Heights devotees out there, and I'd love to hear your ideal cast. This news would come right after I wrote a post warning against excessive fandom -- this is going to be worse than any Beowulf adaptation for me. . .