If this is all confirmed, this becomes a major upcoming project, one worth noting now.
Keira Knightley and Joe Wright have had a very successful collaboration so far on both “Pride and Prejudice” and “Atonement,” and both of them have benefitted from those successes. The two of them working together on anything becomes news by virtue of their track record together.
But the two of them working together on “My Fair Lady” with a screenplay by Emma Thompson?
That is news. Really, really good news.
I’ve liked Wright more than his material so far, but I think “My Fair Lady” is a really tough, funny, smart musical, with a huge book and a huge song score, so this time out, I don’t think I’m going to have a problem with the material. It’s ambitious. You can’t just be a good singer or a good actor to pull it off, you’ve got to be GREAT! And at BOTH! And not just good. Not just very good. GREAT!
Because that’s the kind of show it is. So casting is a big deal. According to The Telegraph, Scarlett Johansson was in the running to play Eliza Doolittle until very recently, when Kiera Knightley decisively won the role from her. The same article implies that Daniel Craig is the current choice to play Henry Higgins.
Some of this has been reported before. But until recently, Wright was developing “Indian Summer,” a major budget period piece starring Cate Blanchett. After nine months of work, the production shut down recently, leaving him suddenly available. And with Knightley attached, and Joe Wright looking for a film that he can step into, and a script by Emma Thompson as bait… then that sounds like a pretty natural and attractive package.
“My Fair Lady” is a show that has a ton of juice in it, and although I can’t begin to compare Kiera Knightley to Audrey Hepburn (no disrespect, but Kiera’s out of her league in that match-up), I can see how that show can be played a dozen different ways in both of the lead roles, and those differences make it worth telling again. That’s how musicals are built, isn’t it? To be interpreted and performed, not to be done just once and then shelved, right?
We’ll see how this one comes together, and since this isn’t a formal announcement but rather a piece in a London paper, consider it rumor for now. But still…. a very promising rumor, indeed.
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