Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Andrea Arnold to direct Wuthering Heights

Peter Webber abandoned the Ecosse Films' Wuthering Heights film project, but the project is now back on track with a new director: Andrea Arnold, according to Variety:

British helmer Andrea Arnold has signed on to direct Ecosse Films' adaptation of Emily Bronte's classic novel "Wuthering Heights."
Move is a coup for producers Robert Bernstein, Douglas Rae and Kevin Loader, who have seen a number of cast and director changes.
Helmer Peter Webber ankled the project in December, while previously attached director John Maybury left last summer. The cast has also been on something of a merry-go-round, with Natalie Portman, Abbie Cornish and Gemma Arterton all attached at one point to play the iconic role of doomed lover Cathy.
Bronte's novel follows Cathy as she is forced to choose between her passionate love for Heathcliff and her well-meaning husband.
Arnold's decision to board the project, which has been developed with the support of Film4 and Tessa Ross, will likely give it the impetus to go into production by spring. The helmer has emerged as one of Blighty's most acclaimed young auteurs following her first two features, "Red Road" and "Fish Tank." [And, as seen in the picture, she won the 2004 Academy Award for Live Action Short with her film Wasp.]
Arnold, who previously has written and directed only material she's written, will direct Olivia Hetreed's adaptation of Bronte's novel and will emphasize the youthful, teenage aspect of the protagonists in the original source material.
"Andrea has previously said that the only book she would ever direct would be 'Wuthering Heights,' because of the passionate, impossible love story at its center and its elements of class divide," producer Robert Bernstein told Daily Variety. "It's a very lucky coincidence for us that we've found each other."
Hanway Films is handling international sales. (Ali Jaafar) (Picture source)
A lucky coincidence indeed. And now the project will hopefully take off at long last.

More big news: yet another auction with at least one important Brontë item will be taking place at Sotheby's as seen via Art Daily and The New York Times. There are still no pictures of the items, but Sotheby's has a press release with the highlights of the James S. Copley Library, which will be divided into several auctions between April 2010 and April 2011.
As a reader and a newspaperman, Mr. Copley had wide and eclectic interests, which also provided themes for the collection. Letters and manuscripts from authors, scientists, and musicians as diverse as Charlotte Brontë, Albert Einstein, and Tchaikovsky also found a place in the Library.” [...]
Arts & Sciences including The Mark Twain Collection
Always a voracious reader, Mr. Copley’s manuscript collecting made him realize he could also obtain first editions as well as original letters of his favorite authors - principal among them is his fellow California newspaper man, Mark Twain. The Mark Twain Collection is rich in letters, both to Twain’s publishers and family and friends. A number of manuscripts relate to some of his more famous publications and the collection also includes an unpublished autobiographical manuscript entitled A Family Sketch. Other literary and artistic luminaries featured in the collection include Emily Dickinson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, T. S. Eliot, Charlotte Brontë, Willa Cather, James Joyce, George Gershwin, Julia Ward Howe, and Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky, among many others. Achievements in science and the minds behind them also fascinated Mr. Copley, and among the offerings from the Library is a significant group of letters and two speeches by Albert Einstein. Other noteworthy names acquired by Mr. Copley include Sir Isaac Newton, Marie Curie, Louis Pasteur, Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell. Highlights to be offered include: [...]
*Charlotte Brontë writing to W.S. Williams, her agent or publisher, on 18 October 1848 and expressing a pessimistic outlook on the study of human motivations (est. $35/50,000)
The Arts and Sciences collection is scheduled for June 17, 2010 according to the press release, although it's not yet on the website. Also according to the press release,
Highlights from the Library will be Exhibited from 16-23 January 2010 during Sotheby’s Americana Week Sales [t Sotheby’s, 1334 York Avenue, at 72nd Street, Manhattan; (212) 606-7000.]
We don't know whether Charlotte Brontë's letter is one of the highlights on display or not, probably not given the theme. The letter appears in the second volume of Charlotte Brontë's letters edited by Margaret Smith, pages 128-130, quoted from Clement Shorter's 1896 Charlotte Brontë and her Circle and the original manuscript is said to be 'untraced'.

The Scotsman discusses Asda's report and points to the Twilight phenomenon just like we did yesterday:
"HarperCollins did a new edition of Wuthering Heights. They put a Twilight-esque cover on it and it sells really well. It is getting teenagers reading Wuthering Heights which has got to be a good thing!" [says Vanessa Robertson, who owns The Children's Bookshop and The Edinburgh Bookshop, both in Bruntsfield] (Laura Cummings)
Paul Taylor, from The Independent, reminisces about going to see Cliff Richard's Heathcliff.
I had another [panic-attack] in 1996 at the Birmingham world premiere of Cliff Richard's musical extravaganza, Heathcliff. I seemed to be the only person in the huge convention centre who was not having a hot flush, Cliff-related or otherwise.
A few blogs for today: 50 Books in 2010 posts her first impressions about Jane Eyre. Kendall's Blog writes about Wuthering Heights and Consejeria Diego thinks one of Frida Kahlo's paintings can represent Cathy in Wuthering Heights as well. Finally, Miss Picky's Column has joined Laura's Reviews All About the Brontës Challenge.

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