December 19, 2006

New Photos from Gaiman's STARDUST!

Cinema Blend has these three photos from the film adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Stardust. I'm intrigued by the one of Michelle Pfeiffer in a goat-drawn carriage. More on the adaptation in Gaiman's Journal. --Kim

December 15, 2006

Quoth the Raven: "Yo, Adrian!"

As we noted here a while back, Sly Stallone has plans for a biopic on the life of macabre poet and storyteller Edgar Allan Poe. (Contrary to the accompanying image, the film will not include a dancing, bewhiskered character called "Magical Mr. Mistoffelees.") While Robert Downy Jr. had been named in connection with the role, he's since denied he'll be playing the author, and I can't seem to find any news of who will be, although Johnny Depp has mentioned in the past that he'd love to play Poe, and how friggin' cool would that be? (Although I can't imagine Depp and Stallone in the same room together, let alone Stallone actually directing Depp.)

Sly has already written the script, and let's just say we can only hope it's more in the ilk of "Rocky," Part I, and less in the ilk of "Tango and Cash," "Demolition Man," "Judge Dredd" and the inimitable "Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot."

Here's what Stallone had to say about the movie according to the official Rocky Balboa blog:

SYLVESTER STALLONE: I'm gonna direct "Edgar Allen Poe" [without] being in it. "Yo, Poe!" doesn't work. I'd like to direct some nice young actor in it who can get the soul of Poe. It's a dark story, but the challenge is how to make it enjoyable, so it isn't that depressing. And then there's a book I've been looking at for a while called Homefront, which is pretty good and, you know, there's certain things that will crop up. The main thing is I'd, I'd much rather spend more time directing than actually acting.

A non-depressing view of Poe's life? Good luck with that one. (I'm thinking "Homefront" may be the book by Tony Christini about the Iraq war, f.y.i.) -- Amy

December 14, 2006

Happiness Sold Separately

Julia Roberts will produce and perhaps star in an adaptation of Happiness Sold Separately, a novel by Lolly Winston. Says director Scott Coffey, "I've been looking for something to do with Julia for a really long time, and I finally found the project that was worthy of her," he admitted. "I couldn't get Julia out of my head when I was reading Lolly's book. Elinor is such a strong, complicated woman, and bringing her to the screen required Julia's integrity, empathy, humor and legs." --Kim

December 13, 2006

A Royal Welcome

Here are the first two official stills from the sequel to Elizabeth, (a.k.a. "The Golden Age") starring Cate Blanchett and Clive "Mr. Darcy" Owen as Sir Walter Raleigh (I'm weak in the knees already). The movie was filmed last year in the UK and will be released next year. Samantha Morton plays Mary Queen of Scots and Geoffrey Rush is back as Sir Francis Walsingham. -- Amy

Incidentally, here's what Cate told The Guardian about her decision to do the sequel:
"...I don't think I wanted to play Elizabeth I in the first place. I remember reading the script and saying, 'Wow, this is going to be an ego trip for someone, but it's not going to be for me' - but there I was, having the ego trip. ...I've remained really good friends with Shekhar [Kapur, the director], and he and Geoffrey Rush had been talking about [the Elizabeth sequel] The Golden Age for a long time. I kept saying no because I couldn't see why. But suddenly there was this fantastic script that had the potential to talk about a woman approaching middle age; and I thought that, if the first film was about denial, this one, in a way, is about acceptance of that ageing process."

Who's Counting?

Dark Horizons reports that a modern retelling of Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo is in the works. The Prince is a psychological thriller set at a prep school where one student is framed for perpetrating a Columbine-style attack. After being sent to prison, he remerges with a new identity -- and a serious bone to pick with his former classmates. -- Amy

December 10, 2006

Ioan Blasts Burberry! Stars Unite Against Clothing Manufacturer

"Last September, Burberry announced it was to close its Treorchy factory in the Rhondda valley. But it has met fierce opposition from celebrities including Ioan Gruffudd, the global face of Burberry known for his roles in Titanic and Horatio Hornblower, and Charlotte Church." (The Observer) --Kim

December 5, 2006

Book or Film? Jude the Obscure

The Daily Telegraph's Philip Horne weighs in on which is better: Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure, or Michael Winterbottom's 1996 "not so feel-good" film adaptation starring Christopher Eccleston in the title role and Kate Winslet as his unlucky charm, Sue Bridehead. Horne loved the movie, which is funny, seeing as how we at Romancing the Tome described it at The Happy Booker as one of the all-time most anguishing film adaptations we can recall. Of course, we're a little partial to period movies where the characters are still alive by the end. Leave it to Hardy to leave us clamoring for a Prozac prescription. -- Amy

The Write Stuff?

Johnny Depp did it. So have Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweger and Anne Hathaway. And now....Lindsay Lohan? Find out what has the Guardian scratching its head today... -- Amy

November 21, 2006

Charlemagne Event

Dark Horizons reports that Damien Lewis (Better known as Soames Forsyte to Masterpiece Theater freaks), Daryl Hannah, Virginie Leyoden, John Malkovich, Peter O'Toole, Saffron Burrows, Vincent Perez, Michael Madsen and scads of other folks are set to appear in "Love and Virtue," a period film set during the reign of King Charlemagne and based on the legends "The Song of Roland" and "Orlando Innamorato." -- Amy

The "Iceman" Mark Twain?

Never thought The Tom Green show would be a source for literary adaptation news, but ...

Val Kilmer was a guest on the show recently and announced he was writing a screenplay about Mark Twain and Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy (with whom Twain seemed to have had a love/hate fascination.) "Its a dual biography of a fantasy love story," explained Kilmer, who even displayed a cellphone picture of himself decked-out like Twain, leading us to presume that he'll be playing the part of the hoary-haired American author. "He seemed to understand something interesting about every subject...He was the most famous American in the world [in his day]," Kilmer added. While I have my doubts that this will ever actually come to fruition, I'll happily give Kilmer credit for being more literary-minded than I had imagined him to be.

As a trivial aside, how much does he look like John Denver in this photo? -- Amy

November 17, 2006

Goya's Ghosts

While a review in Variety gives Goya's Ghosts high marks for being visually stunning (what else would we expect from the director of Amadeus and Valmont?), it offers only a so-so opinion of the film's storyline. Stellan Skarsgard plays the renowned painter and Natalie Portman his beloved muse, who is labelled a heretic and imprisoned by a righteous-but-vengeful monk (Javier Bardem) during the Spanish inquisition. (In a curious casting note, Randy Quaid plays the Spanish monarch, King Carlos IV.)

View the trailer here. -- Amy

November 16, 2006

"Frankly my makes my GORGE RISE???"

Studio 360 has an interesting segment on Margaret Mitchell's "Gone With the Wind," its racial politics and why the story continues to resonate with readers and viewers today. Listen here.

After reading some trivia about the film, I was intrigued by this tidbit from

In 1939, the Hollywood Production Code dictated what could and could not be shown or said on screen, and Rhett Butler's memorable last line raised red flags. A few of the suggested alternatives were "Frankly my dear... I just don't care," " makes my gorge rise," " indifference is boundless," "...I don't give a hoot," and "...nothing could interest me less." Although legend persists that the Hays Office fined Selznick $5,000 for using the word "damn", in fact the Motion Picture Association board passed an amendment to the Production Code on November 1, 1939, to insure that Selznick would be in compliance with the code. Henceforth, the words "hell" and "damn" would be banned except when their use "shall be essential and required for portrayal, in proper historical context, of any scene or dialogue based upon historical fact or folklore . . . or a quotation from a literary work, provided that no such use shall be permitted which is intrinsically objectionable or offends good taste." With that amendment, the Production Code Administration had no further objection to Rhett's closing line, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."
-- Amy

November 10, 2006

Atonement Pics

The Keira Knightley fan site has behind-the-scenes pics of the actress filming the adaptation of the Ian McEwan novel, Atonement. Knightley plays Cecilia, a young woman whose world is turned upside-down after her confused little sister, Briony, catches her in flagrante with her boyfriend, Robbie (played by James McAvoy). Romola Garai, Brenda Blethyn, Vanessa Redgrave, Benedict Cumberbatch (of the latest Materpiece Theater offering, To The Ends of the Earth) and Gina McKee (Irene Forsyte of The Forsyte Saga) also star in the 1930s-era film, which is slated to hit theaters in August of next year. -- Amy

November 8, 2006

Angst in the Time of Cholera

The trailer is now available for the adaptation of Somerset Maugham's The Painted Veil, starring Naomi Watts, Ed Norton, Liev Schreiber and Toby Jones. It hits theaters in December and looks like it might appeal to fans of The English Patient or A Passage to India. (Greta Garbo starred in the 1934 version, fyi.) -- Amy

Anthony and Ivory

Sir Anthony Hopkins has come out of retirement to star in James Ivory's The City of Your Final Destination, an adaptation of a novel by Peter Cameron. Charlotte Gainsbourg and Laura Linney round out the cast, "which follows the story of an Iranian graduate student living in Kansas (Omar Metwally) who travels to Uruguay to ask permission to write the authorised biography of his idol, Latin American author Jules Gund." --Kim

November 6, 2006

SF Event: The May Queens at Madrone Lounge

Tonight Nicki, Michelle Richmond, and I will be reading from The May Queen along with contributors from the anthology Before the Mortgage: Real Stories of Brazen Loves, Broken Leases, and the Perplexing Pursuit of Adulthood. You can read Nicki's interview with Michelle, whose latest novel The Year of Fog will be published by Random House in March, on The Happy Booker. More details here. --Kim

November 2, 2006

First Offical Still from "The Golden Compass"

In an exciting development for some of the more zealous fans of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, "New Line Cinema released the first still from the film, which shows Nicole Kidman alongside newcomer Dakota Blue Richards, yesterday," reports The Book Standard. --Kim

Jane Austen Gets Busy

Last week Amy reported on James McAvoy's cheeky and tounge-in-cheek speculation regarding Jane Austen. This week filming begins on an adaptation of the popular novel The Jane Austen Book Club starring Jimmy Smits, Maria Bello, Emily Blunt, Kevin Zegers, Hugh Dancy, Maggie Grace, and Amy Brenneman reports The Book Standard. The plot of JABC revolves around the sexcapades of a group of California book club members whose discussion apparently gets a little too stimulating.

Regular Romancing the Tome readers will recognize Hugh Dancy from Daniel Deronda, King Arthur, Elizabeth I, and those Burberry ads. He's also attached to the upcoming werewolf tale Blood and Chocolate, an adapation of Susan Minot's tear-jerker Evening, and
Bronte, a 2007 film starring Michelle Williams, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and Ben Chaplin. --Kim

Oh Boy

Halloween may be over, but I'm still scared. Very. By this. The idea of Mischa Barton starring in all her ribaldric glory in an adaptation of Boccaccio's The Decameron, a.k.a. the Middle Ages' contribution to the porn industry: a frame narrative about a group of young hipsters from Florence who flee to the countryside to escape the Bubonic plague and end up amusing themselves at their villa by telling bawdy tales. The film, due out in March, has gone through a few different titles, including "Virgin Territory" and "Chasing Temptation" -- presumably their attempt to entice non-English majors who'd be otherwise oblivious to the fact that there's general naughtiness to be enjoyed. FYI, the film also stars Hayden can download the trailer at
-- Amy

October 31, 2006

L.A. Confidential: The Sequel Gets a Heavy Voice Over

James Ellroy's sultrily-named novel White Jazz will get the treatment via director Joe Carnahan (of the upcoming Smokin' Aces and Narc, an "overlooked gem" says IMDB, which starred Lost Boy Jason Patric), who co-wrote the adaptation with his brother.

Says Carnahan, "The script is one of my favourites. It's heartbreaking. It's, to me, what that book always was - the point of departure from the Eisenhower 50s to the psychedelic freakshow, Manson '60s. It's a total combination of the two with a heavy, heavy voice-over narration, this kind of classic noir."

The thriller, which begins filming in 2007, is a sequel to Ellroy's L.A. Confidential, which was adapted with great critical success by Curtis Hanson in 1997. Ellroy wrote the screenplay for L.A. Confidential along with Brian Helgeland (Man on Fire, A Knight's Tale). According to Wikipedia, White Jazz has been in "development hell" previously and stars formerly attached to the project included Nick Nolte, John "Lloyd Dobler" Cusack, and Winona Ryder. Brian De Palma's The Black Dahlia (2006) was also adapted from an Ellroy novel. --Kim

October 27, 2006

Who Do You Love?

GET OUT THE VOTE!....Don't worry, I won't insult you with any negative attack ads or urge you to choose "Bad Politician A" over "Bad Politician B" in a few weeks. Just want you to take the time to complete this "Masterpiece Theater" survey. Voicing your likes and dislikes from among their recent offerings will help them figure out future programming. Did you love Bleak House's Mr. Guppy or was The Forsyte Saga's Soames Forsyte more to your liking? Ah decisions, decisions. Weigh in and let the powers that be know you're watching. -- Amy

October 26, 2006

Russian 'Hamlet' Wins Festival Award

Playing the Victim, A modern-day adaptation of Hamlet by Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov won the best film award at Rome's International Film Festival.

About the film:
"Playing the Victim" tells the story of Valya (Yury Chursin), a university graduate who has slipped, as the title suggests, into an apathetic job re-enacting crimes for curiously unnecessary police investigations. In the re-enactments, which are filmed for future trial reference, Valya takes the place of murder victims -- at least until the developments of the final act, which concludes the film's recurring references to "Hamlet," and in which the roles are suddenly reversed. (via The Moscow Times) --Kim

October 25, 2006

Marie Antoinette, Old School

Curiosity prompted me to watch the 1938 version of Marie Antoinette, starring Norma Shearer and Tyrone Power last weekend. If you have the time or inclination, or if you happen to catch it on cable, I'd suggest checking it out, just for kicks. Here are some reasons why:

• Norma Shearer is ADORABLE as the queen.
• She has a bitchin' thrown-down with Madame du Barry (much better than the Coppola version of this scene.)
• Louis XVI (played by Robert Morley) is ridiculous to the point of prompting snorts of laughter. I think the dimwittedness may have been overdone, but it is pretty damn funny. He's so dumb that you can't help but root for the guy.
• Tyrone Power as Axel Ferson blows Jamie Dornan's performance out of the water. Quite the hottie.
• The dresses are stunning, albeit a bit more voluminous than those in the current film. Could definitely hide a couple of court midgets under those dresses.
• The Duke de Orleans gives Eddie Izzard a run for his money. (I just Googled him and he really was a transvestite. Kind of cool that they went there in a 1938 film.)
• Unlike the Coppola film, this one covers the Affair of the Necklace (a big plotline left out of the current version and one which had a huge impact on the monarchy's downfall.) -- Amy

Tale of Two Cities

I spoke with a soap actress this week (MacKenzie Mauzy who plays Phoebe on "The Bold & The Beautiful"). She says she's involved in a musical adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities (she's playing the guillotine-doomed seamstress whom Sydney Carton falls for at the end of the novel.) According to Mauzy, they're doing performances for producers and potential financial backers right now, with the hopes that it will end up on Broadway sometime in 2007. (The musical has actually been around since 1994.) You can check out more about the musical here. (It's got a very Les Mis vibe, based on the songs I listened to.) -- Amy

October 23, 2006

Buffy's Little Sister In The Possibility of Fireflies

Michelle Trachtenberg and Kelly Preston will star in an adaptation of The Possibility of Fireflies. The author Dominique Paul will be making her directorial debut with the film based on her novel about a single mom. --Kim

October 22, 2006

Jane Austen did WHAT?!?

James McAvoy offers up a "spit-out-your-coffee" moment in an enlightening interview with The Guardian.

Let's just say he has an interesting take on playing Tom LeFroy, the young Irishman who broke Jane Austen's heart in Becoming Jane.

Kind of a funny interview, anyway. -- Amy

October 19, 2006


John Malkovich + Jeremy Irons + dragons = Hell to the Yeah!!!!!

The first part of this trilogy (based on the book by Christopher Paolini) hits theaters Dec. 15. View trailer here. -- Amy

October 18, 2006

Marie: The Verdict

So my friend, Patricia, was kind enough to invite me to an advance screening of Marie Antoinette on Monday night. Talk about lush, heavenly eye candy from start to finish!

I'm definitely, adamantly giving it a Romancing The Tome thumbs' up. I know the film bugs many people who have seen it, and so I went into the movie half expecting the thing to be a travesty. Having read a detailed bio of the queen earlier this year, I was surprised at just how much of her story Coppola was able to include in the two-hour film. (Of course, she left out a lot of the politics, both those of court and the political tension between France and Austria, of which Marie was trapped in the middle. Her extra-marital dalliances also seemed a bit glossed over, with only a lackluster nod to her relationship with Count Fersen.)

As for the movie's much maligned modern edge, I hardly noticed it. Yes, today's tunes were interspersed with period music, but in most cases, it worked well without being a distraction. There were a few exchanges of dialogue that sounded clearly out of place for 18th century Versailles, but if the point was to turn Marie Antoinette into someone wholly relatable, it worked. Kirsten Dunst's delivery always tends to be flat, and it seemed even more strange to hear her American accent mixed among others that were French and English. But what Dunst lacked in vocalese, she more than made up for in facial expressions. There were so many wonderful scenes where Dunst's face alone spoke volumes about what the queen must have felt at being dropped into the circus of the French court.

Along the way, she's transformed from mystified young girl to excessive coquette and finally, to a world-weary mother. Forget her affair with hottie Ferson, it's the strained yet poignant relationship between Marie and Louis XVI (played to great comic effect by Jason Schwartzman) that is the true love story of the movie.

And then, there are the visuals: Extravagant. Droolworthy. I coveted every one of the many gowns Dunst wore. The backdrop, interiors and costumes alone are worth eventually owning the DVD, just to have it perpetually play on mute as background prettiness. Visually, it's a masterpiece. To be honest, I didn't even notice the anachronisms sprinkled throughout the movie (like the pair of pink Converse All-Stars in Marie's closet, which I only read about afterwards...). Bottom line, Coppola's poetic license is fairly subtle. And besides, if throwing in a few modern tweaks is what it takes to woo a wider audience, fans of gorgous costume dramas should hardly complain. -- Amy

October 16, 2006

Gorgeous Costumes + Young Magicians on the Rise

Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale will star in The Prestige, Christopher Nolan's (Memento) tale of two rival magicians in 19th century London. Sounds eerily similar to Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, which Amy really loved and I wanted to love (I found the footnotes to be a frustrating gimmick that drove me batty). Michael Caine, David Bowie, Scarlet Johannson, and Piper Perabo will also get to wear fabulous costumes in the film, which looks lovely. More pix and details here. --Kim

October 13, 2006

Tom Quixote?

Director Andrew Davis (not to be confused with Romancing the Tome's directorial patron saint Andrew Davies) announced at a recent London press conference that he has plans to do a hybrid version of Cervantes' Don Quixote and Fielding's Tom Jones, which he says is one of his favorite novels. "It has a character who believes in the Quixote legend but lives in the London of Tom Jones," he explains. -- Amy

October 11, 2006

Julia to Eat, Pray, Love

I think this might be the first time we've mentioned Julia Roberts on the blog, oddly enough, but she'll play an unsatisfied suburbanite on an international quest in an adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert's bestselling memoir, Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything. Nip/Tuck creator Ryan Murphy (also the man behind this month's Running With Scissors) will direct. I've never read the book and can only pray it won't smack of Under the Tuscan Sun. -- Amy

October 10, 2006

Sofia Speaks!

The Guardian has an interview with Marie Antoinette director Sofia Coppola where she speaks on being simultaneously booed and lauded in Cannes, growing up Coppola, pregnancy, why she appreciates Harold Pinter (who incidentally loves the film) and what she thinks of being generally thought of as part of the "Brat Pack" of hip young filmmakers. Author Antonia Fraser, who wrote the biography on which Coppola's latest film is based, is quoted in the piece as well. -- Amy

October 9, 2006

A "Seasonable" Choice for Fiennes

Joseph Fiennes will play Vivaldi in a new biopic about the Baroque priest/composer of "Four Seasons" fame, specifically his time serving as a music master at a school for abandoned, illegitimate daughters of Venice's courtesans. (I'm sold already). Malcolm Macdowell, Jaqueline Bisset, Lena Heady and Zuleikha Robinson round out the cast, with Gerard Depardiu still in talks to sign on as well. -- Amy

Source: Dark Horizons

Casanova Part I: Disasterpiece Theater?

Unlike the man it set out to dramatize, last night's Masterpiece Theater presentation, Casanova, failed to knock knickers off. (Not mine, at least.)

I had issues a'plenty, of which I'll name a few:

1) The film (especially the first three minutes or so) reminded me of a bad episode of THE MONKEES, with Casanova (or was that Davy Jones?) running around the back-alleys of Venice being chased by men he's cuckolded. And the background music accompanying these antics was something akin to the Benny Hill theme song. I get that they were trying to play up the farcical aspects of the story, but it was just annoyingly mad-cap and Stooge-like. This was probably my biggest gripe with the movie. It's almost as if they kept trying to make sure we'd get the joke by overly hamming it up. (Mind you, I'm not against stupid humor in a period piece, as evidenced by my review this year of Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story.)But in the case of Casanova, I was bored, not bemused.

2) The dialogue sounded way too 21st century, and the delivery reminded me of the rhythm you find on shows like "Gilmore Girls" or "Dawson's Creek," a.k.a. trying way too hard to come off as clever, and not entirely working. (A huge pet peeve of mine.)

3) The sets and costumes looked cheap and amateurish. Nothing about the production value seemed on par with what we've come to expect from Masterpiece Theater.

4) At the ball where Casanova presents his castrato-turned-fiancee, the whole scene just seemed like an '80s flashback weekend. I guess the director was trying to give the story an updated feel (perhaps as Sofia Coppola has done with "Marie Antoinette") but it didn't work.

I'll give the film's star, David Tennant, some props for being charismatic enough to carry the production. His charm and flirtatiousness makes you understand why women would have shamelessly flung themselves at him. Peter O'Toole was great as the elderly Casanova reflecting on his raucous past (although this framework narrative reminded me too much of "The Princess Bride"..."Oh don't stop now! Tell me more! What happened next?!"). The rest of the cast didn't do much for me.

I'm sure people out there are going to disagree with my opinion, so feel free to let me have it. I've heard that the movie eventually takes a poignant, tear-jerking turn, bt you'll have to let me know if that's the case. I won't be watching. -- Amy

October 6, 2006

Pope Joan in works

Donna Woolfolk Cross's bestselling novel "Pope Joan" will be adapted with actress Franka Potente (Run Lola, Run) in the title role, reports Dark Horizons. Shooting begins next May.

I haven't read the novel, but the "Pope Joan saga" has intrigued me ever since I heard about the legend, which claims that a young peasant girl adopted a man's persona and fooled her way into eventually claiming the highest title in the Catholic church, until she was eventually "discovered" after literally giving birth on a public street as shocked on-lookers watched in amazement. (Dateline or Primetime or one of those shows had a whole special on the story earlier this year.) Quite intriguing. -- Amy

October 5, 2006

Hoist the Jib!!!

This month PBS is really catering to my soft spot for English seafaring adventures. (I know, there's nothing romantic about foul-mouthed, rickets-laden sailors who could stand a little less grog and a little more personal hygiene. But still...)

Starting Sunday, Oct. 22, PBS's Masterpiece Theater treats us to a three-part adaptation of William Golding's trilogy To The Ends of the Earth. The story tracks a perilous 19th century ocean voyage from England to Australia. A hardened Captain Anderson helms the converted man-o-war ship with a passenger list that includes uppity British socialites and a salty crew.

You'll see some familiar faces among the cast including Charles Dance (Tulkinghorn from MP's Bleak House); Sam Neill (pictured, Komarovsky from MP's Doctor Zhivago); Victoria Hamilton (who has appeared in Mansfield Park, the Pride & Prejudice miniseries and Persuasion); and Joanna Page (pictured, Dora in MP's David Copperfield).

The BBC drama has already aired in England, so anyone who's seen it already should give us their thumbs' up or down. It appears to have gotten pretty good reviews.

Finally, don't forget to set your VCR or TiVo (or just tune in) to PBS this Sunday night to see Part I of Casanova. And check back on Romancing the Tome to get our review! -- Amy

October 4, 2006

Copying Beethoven

This looks like it might be good, especially if you were a fan of Immortal Beloved, like I was. Copying Beethoven is directed by the same woman who did Washington Square and the Secret Garden. It stars a brown-eyed Ed Harris as the composer in the last year of his life in a fictionalized account that claims a gifted young woman (Diane Kruger) helped the ailing genius with his work. Here's the trailer. It looks like it will have a limited release in November. NPR's Fresh Air has Ed Harris's take on playing the deaf and surly legend. -- Amy

October 3, 2006

More French Flak for Dunst

Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette is suffering further ridicule now that France's Marie Antoinette Association is blasting the film, due out this month, for being historically inaccurate — specifically the queen's saucy bedroom antics. The association's president, after seeing the film's trailer, said, "It's a fright. We've spent years trying to convince people that the queen was not just a libertine who told the starving to eat cake. What do you see on the trailer? You see Marie Antoinette eating cake. I fear the film is going to set us back many years."

I think someone needs to just take a deep breath and chill out. Then again, Kirsten Dunst's response isn't doing her any favors: "It's kind of like a history of feelings rather than a history of facts," says the actress. "So don't expect a masterpiece theater, educational biopic." (She'd better not be bashing MP!)

I don't know...I agree that I would like a Marie Antoinette film to at least give me accurate information, but I also think the Marie Antoinette Association may have their corsets laced a little too tight. -- Amy


Knightley's Poet Pic a Go!

Dark Horizons says plans are finally underway for Keira Knightley to star in a film about Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. The screenplay for "The Best Time of Our Lives" was written by the actress's playwright mum, Sharmon Macdonald. In the movie (which will begin production next spring) Knightley will play the wife of William Killick, a man who turned up on the poet's doorstep armed with a machine gun and grenade. -- Amy

September 29, 2006

More Scarlett News

Apparently, Scarlett Johansson has the Tudor era bug. She'll don historical garb once more playing Mary Queen of Scots in a biopic chronicling the contentious relationship between Mary and Elizabeth I. (Liz got the last word when she had Mary beheaded in 1587 for plotting to assassinate her.) -- Amy

September 28, 2006

Pics of Scarlett and Natalie Filming The Other Boleyn Girl!

As we previously reported, two of Hollywood's most gorgeous actresses won out over the Brits (including Keira Knightley) to star in a big screen adaptation of The Other Boleyn Girl. (Michelle Williams was also rumored to be considering a part in the film at one point.) Natalie is portraying the ill-fated Anne while Scarlett will play her sister Mary. Eric Bana is Henry VIII. See more pics of the girls from the set here. The lucky pair appear to be having a good time. Who wouldn't? The headpieces are lovely--I can't wait to see the rest of their costumes. Do you think they will give Natalie a prosthetic sixth finger? --Kim

September 27, 2006

New Casanova Is "Terrific" Says Vogue

"At a ball Casanova and Bellino shock Venetian society by wearing torn-up pieces of each other's clothes, another Galliano moment; half a minuet later, Bellino pulls him out of the rank of dancers and into a waltz, immediately followed by the entire ballroom, and you want to clap and cry."

Vogue raves that "the freedom of invention and the liberties taken serve the original libertine magnificently..." Visit for more on Masterpiece Theatre's Casanova which premieres in October. --Kim

Picture Pages

Thanks to our friend, Meg, for sending us Viking Studio's Illustrated Jane Eyre and Illustrated Dracula. Spaced throughout the pages of these two classic novels are 40 illos by neo-Victorian comic book artist Dame Darcy and goth-noir Marvel wunderkind, Jae Lee, respectively. The drawings are downright gorgeous, making these books a wonderful gift for that lit-loving hipster or comic book lover in your life. (If i didn't already have them, I'd be stoked -- or should I say "Stokered?" -- to get one in my Christmas stocking.) Apparently, these are just the first in a series. I'll be curious to see what's next. -- Amy

September 26, 2006

Shhh! Scorsese to Direct Silence

Martin Scorsese's next film is an adaptation of Shusaku Endo's novel Silence.

"The story of Silence is set in 16th century Japan where Portuguese missionaries are battling with the feudal lords' hatred of the religion and the violence directed towards priests,"


September 25, 2006

Jolie Gets "Rand"y

The Book Standard reports that Angelina Jolie has signed on to play Dagney Taggart in an adaptation of writer-philospher Ayn Rand's classic, Atlas Shrugged. (As for the immortal question: "Who is John Galt," the answer may turn out to be Jolie's baby's daddy, Brad Pitt, who is reportedly still in talks to possibly star in the film.) Jolie will also lend her voice to the role of Grendel's mother in next year's Robert-Zemeckis-directed version of Beowulf, and, as we reported back in January, she's slated to play Catherine to Johnny Depp's Heathcliff in a new adaptation of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. I feel a swoon coming on. -- Amy

September 21, 2006

Benny & Joon Director to Helm Adaptation

Benny & Joon director Jeremiah Chechik will film Michael Turner's coming-of-age novel The Pornographer's Poem, "the story of an ordinary man who stumbles into the world of porn movies via short films." I haven't read it, but the article notes that it's a cult favorite. (Empire Movie News) --Kim

New Jane Eyre to Borrow P&P Fog Machine

The U.K.'s Independent gives some reasons why we should have our knickers in a bunch about the new Jane Eyre adaptation (other than the fact that it's a new Jane Eyre adaptation). I'll summarize for you:

*It's being filmed at "the most perfect house to survive from the Middle Ages."

*In his first scene Toby Stephens as Mr. Rochester "emerges out of a thick mist on his trusty steed, which rears up and bucks its esteemed rider at the sight of Jane on the moors."

*The journalist thinks 37 year-old actor Toby Stephens (Twelfth Night, Die Another Day) could have "the Colin Firth affect." Frankly, that's reason enough for me. --Kim

Image: Toby Stephens and Pierce Brosnan in Die Another Day

September 20, 2006

Robin Hood, Recovered

With the recently stolen tapes of BBC's new Robin Hood series now back in safe hands, the show is back on track for its premiere on Saturday night in England. (We Yanks will have to wait until next spring before it starts airing on BBC America.) The Daily Telegraph has an interesting article on how creator Dominic Minghella tried to update the legend. (Robin now has a "gang," not a band of "merry men," for instance. And oddly enough, he based the show's hero on none other than British chef, Jamie Oliver. Let's at least hope that, unlike Jamie, he doesn't have a pronounced lisp.) -- Amy

Will Ioan fight for Burberry workers?

Things that make you go "Hmmm": Burberry hires a Welsh spokesperson, but closes down their Whales-based factory.

BBC News reports that Welsh-born actor Ioan Gruffudd (the new face of Burberry) may be lobbied by his fellow countrymen to prevent the clothing company from closing down their factory in the south of Whales (which would result in the loss of 300 jobs.) Perhaps playing British political activist William Wilberforce in the upcoming Amazing Grace will prompt Ioan to go all "Norma Rae" on behalf of the Burberry workers? -- Amy

September 13, 2006

Gabriel Byrne, Christopher Plummer, and Susan Sarandon Add It Up

Director Paolo Barzman will direct an adaption of Matt Cohen's novel Emotional Arithmetic. Production Weekly reports that the film will tell the story of three people reunited forty years after their imprisonment in a concentration camp. --Kim

Paris, je t'aime

"Paris, je t'aime," a collection of romantic short films about the City of Lights screened at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday. Stars like Natalie Portman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Elijah Wood, Nick Nolte, Juliet Binoche, Emily Mortimor, Rufus Sewell and Steve Buscemi appear in the shorts, which are set in each of the city's arrondissements (uh...neighborhoods for ye non-Frenchies). Wes Craven, Alexander Payne, the Coen brothers and Gus Van Sant are among the directors. Billed as "Stories of love from the City of Love," it's set to be released in North America sometime next year via First Look Pictures. -- Amy

September 11, 2006

The Mayor of Casterbridge

Angling for some angst? Pining for some pathos? Look no further than A&E's 2003 production of The Mayor of Casterbridge. Adapted from the brilliant novel of Thomas "Get the man some Prozac!" Hardy, the movie stars one of Romancing the Tome's favorite actors, Ciarán Hinds (who you may know as Caesar from HBO's Rome, and who is also strangely sexy for an old guy). In his long career, Hinds has an amazing ability to play absolute scumbags that you can't help rooting (and feeling) for. This movie proves no exception. His character, Michael Henchard, begins the film by selling off his wife and daughter in a Victorian-style eBay auction — bastard! It's only the first of many unfortunate choices he makes throughout the story. As he struggles to right past wrongs, his jealousy, hubris, and "fits of gloom" lead him to alienate those who love him most.

Polly Walker (Atia of HBO's Rome) oozes lust as Henchard's scandalous fling, while Jodhi May ably brings on the waterworks as his on-again, off-again "daughter." Meanwhile, James Purefoy (Rome's Mark Antony and Reese Witherspoon's Rawdon in "Vanity Fair") plays Henchard's annoyingly perfect nemesis, Farfrae. He makes a semi-hilarious seduction attempt in a scene reminiscent of Lauren Bacall's "You just put your lips together and blow." (I'm still cracking up just thinking about it.) Nevertheless, the film's ending is a weepy one, so be prepared. -- Amy

September 8, 2006

C'est Magnifique! takes you behind the scenes with Kirsten Dunst (a.k.a. Marie Antoinette) at her photo shoot with famed photographer Annie Liebowitz for the September issue of Vogue. Total eye candy... or should we say bonbons? -- Amy

Perfume: The Smell of Success?

The Guardian wonders whether Tom Twyker's adaptation of Patrick Suskind's Perfume can actually measure up to the novel. Apparently, such directorial big wigs as Stanley Kubrick, Tim Burton, Ridley Scott and Martin Scorsese had been previously connected with the film before each decided that the novel was "unfilmable." Considering the book relies so heavily on the aspect of scent, I can see the dilemma. Nevertheless, Twyker's movie (starring Dustin Hoffman, Alan Rickman and newcomer Ben Whishaw) promises to be one of the big hits of the year, according to The Guardian's Jess Smee. The movie is set for release on December 27. -- Amy