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A multi-million pound budget is being sought for a new film exploring the lives of Haworth’s legendary literary sisters.Still locally, Simon Calder from The Independent goes cycling in Brontë country in anticipation of next year's Tour de France passing though the area.
Yorkshire-based Clothworkers Films has revealed an estimated cost of £10 million for its planned biopic about the Brontë siblings – Charlotte, Emily and Anne.
The production company says the film will be the world’s first English language project of its kind, though it is not yet ready to announce which actors will play the lead roles. The film is due to be released on April 21, 2016.
Director David Anthony Thomas, himself a lifelong Brontë fan, said: “We’re looking forward to announcing the first cast members as soon as possible.
“I spent quite a lot of time around Haworth and on the moors during breaks from pre-production of our last film.
“It’s very beautiful and it’s a shame many Brontë adaptations have chosen to use other counties, such as Derbyshire, as a backdrop.”
He anticipates the film could emulate the success of previous productions in increasing the numbers of people visiting Brontë country, and is encouraged by the global media interest in the film.
Explaining the enduring appeal of the Brontës, he said: “I think much of it has to do with the raw talent of the women, their very modern ideas and the greatness within the novels themselves.
“Their passion is clearly evident in their work and their unique voice is, amongst other things, a result of their literal distance from other prominent authors of the time.
“Their own story is so incredible, and their hidden identities caused a stir on both sides of the Atlantic, which generated interest that has lasted to this day.”
Despite the sisters’ tragically short lives, he is not expecting his film to be entirely bleak.
He said: “Although anyone familiar with the story will understandably be expecting to shed a tear or two, I think there’s much more to the story than that.
“We can pity the sad events in their lives, but I also want to celebrate their resilience and their successes. All three sisters were happy at some point, and all three were widely celebrated and revered in their lifetimes.
“It’s very important to me to remain faithful to the siblings and their stories where previous attempts have failed. But in order to produce a large production intended for the international market, we need to make sure it’s accessible to the layman and functions as a complete work.” (Miran Rahman)
By the time they get to Haworth, the cyclists will be almost halfway through the second day and on the verge of some really challenging stretches. It seems the route through the Brontë sisters' home village will stick to the cobbles (though if a summer shower should intervene their slick tyres may not adhere too well).WhatsOnStage gives 3 out of 5 stars to Peter McMaster's take on Wuthering Heights, now playing at Battersea Arts Centre.
The riders will not pause to take tea, browse in the bookshops or imbibe at the Black Bull Inn (which proved the downfall of Emily's and Charlotte's brother Branwell). But the non-competitive cyclist should pause, if only to visit the Brontë Parsonage Museum, where the tragic tales behind the heroic writing are told.
"Wuthering" in my dictionary is defined as a wind blowing strongly with a roaring sound, which is certainly what it sounded like on the descent to Sladen Bridge, passing the Wuthering Heights pub – which, curiously, is in a valley. A sharp left along Reservoir Road takes you past a man-made lake flanked by castellations, with a citadel rising from the steely surface.
At Oxenhope, a tight right pops you on to the A6003, also known as a long, tough slog. "I avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward," as Charlotte Brontë once said. Fortunately, Rob Wormald caught up with me on a lovely, expensive bike and kindly slowed down for long enough to tell me that he belonged to a cycling club called Sheffrec, and was cycling the entire two-day journey according to an early release of the map.
Instead of slavish adaptation, McMaster offers his audience a multi-faceted meditation on the experience of modern man, taking the problematic and conflicted masculinity of Heathcliff as its implicit catalyst. This startling version of the classic novel is, as McMaster himself puts it, an encounter between the text and its interpreters; the performers "meet the story as ourselves and as men". The atmosphere and character of the novel are evoked more than its plot, which is only offered in a whirlwind telling right at the start, communicated as much through vivid choreography as through storytelling.The Independent gives it a 3 out of 5 as well.
This is literature refracted through both pop cultural and personal lenses. We get blasts of Kate Bush, joyously paired with the iconic dance moves that appear in the music video, while elsewhere the volatile relationship between Heathcliff and Cathy is superseded by reflections on boyhood or contemplations of what it means to be a father. The narrative is always looked at from the edges, be that through the perspective of Heathcliff's horse or via a process of cultural memory. It's inventive, fragmented and frequently off-the-wall.
While there is a grain of silliness that runs through the piece, embraced most unapologetically when performing Kate Bush's gloriously ridiculous choreography, at times the bitter contradictions of contemporary masculinity emerge with all the dark intensity of Brontë's brooding romantic hero. In the most painful and powerful of these, one performer stands in sad, stoic silence as he is assaulted with a violent torrent of questions, posed with escalating frustration and volume. It is a potent staging of internal discord, at the same time as voicing just some of the many demands thrown at men by modern society. At another point, all four performers cough as though trying to wrench up their very guts, with the suggested desire of expelling something buried deep within.
The tonal inconsistency of the show – veering from the daft to the devastating, the profound to the banal – creates interesting tensions, chiming with the inner conflict acknowledged by the performers. At times, however, this can feel like a collection of sketches rather than a cohesive whole, while it demands a fairly thorough knowledge of Brontë's text to navigate the performance's thematic leaps. Whatever its flaws, though, this riff on Wuthering Heights offers an intriguing approach to adaptation, suggesting the riches of scribbling in the margins. (Catherine Love)
If you’re imagining a stage version of a cosy tea-time telly adaptation of Emily Brontë’s classic, think again. Experimental theatre-maker Peter McMaster leads this troupe of four young, Scottish men in delivering a gutsy, gusty gale of a performance. Sometimes it’s comically bonkers, sometimes it’s tender, and sometimes it delivers a high octane howl that captures the doomed intensity of the novel.Another take on Wuthering Heights is currently on stage at the Loft Theatre in Leamington. The Kenilworth Weekly News reviews the production:
If it achieves this, however, it’s not by staying at all faithful to the source; there can’t be more than a page or two of text used. The all-male company intersperse elements of the story with meditations - presumably from their own lives - on masculinity, be that childhood memories of gentle interactions with their fathers or hopes for their own futures. We’re introduced to each actor in turn, with brief personality sketches: this one has addictive tendencies, that one’s an introvert, this one is in an 11-year relationship; that one enjoys masturbating. Later, there’s a barked litany of questions about modern male identity and sexuality, going on for pages, asking about everything from porn consumption to fantasies about other men.
At the beginning, we’re asked to “bear with it” and “be honest”, and by being honest and baring all (literally, at one point) themselves, the company largely carries the audience with them. The fact that they puncture proceedings with humour helps; they’re clearly aware of the heightened ridiculousness of some scenes, and get us firmly on side (and face up to a looming pop-cultural ghost) with a downright hilarious choreographed group dance to Kate Bush’s barmy hit “Wuthering Heights” early on.
With only a few candlesticks and a couple of intentionally terribly-fitting dresses for props and costumes, this is poor theatre, imaginatively staged with a fearless physicality. And as if the cross-casting wasn’t enough, they also spend quite some time playing horses: Heathcliff’s steed as a main narrator offers an equine view on human affairs. Their trotting and snorting is another source of comedy, albeit one that veers a bit too far towards Monty Python at points.
The more personal, devised, expose all your hopes’n’fears stuff can totter into over-indulgence, and how these segments relate to the story of Cathy and Heathcliff often remains obscure. Presumably, Heathcliff as classic alpha male, dark, angry and brooding, was taken as a jumping off point for their explorations of masculinity. But trying to make such connections gives your brain a good workout; this Wuthering Heights makes you smile, but it also keeps you on your toes. (Holly Williams)
Compelling, devastating, exhilerating, brutal and passionate, this brilliant stage adaptation of Emily Brontë’s celebrated novel is one of the best pieces of theatre I have seen for a long time. [...]The Huffington Post features the book Life in Five Seconds: Over 200 Stories For Those With No Time to Waste, put together by the design and advertising firm H-57. One of the 200 stories is Wuthering Heights, which you can see pictured here (source). It completely ignores the second half of the novel, though.
The setting of the wild and rugged Yorkshire moors is conveyed in a simple, but very effective manner, as the basic props of an unruly tree and two raised sections are brought to life wonderfully by the changing sounds, lighting and use of characters’ movements. One scene that particularly stands out to me is when nurse Nelly (Maddy Kerr) battles an imaginary storm with the way she moves her body. We feel the chill of the battering wind along with her.
The dangerously destructive power and strength of emotions is conveyed so well in the characters of Heathcliff (James Allan) and Catherine (Romy Alexander). Like Romeo and Juliet, the couple are star-crossed lovers and fated to only find peace together in death. “I am Heathcliff”, says Catherine - and anyone lucky enough to be in love will know exactly what she means. The electricity between the two on stage is utterly convincing.
But when Heathcliff cannot have “his” Catherine, all he has left is hate. And though we resent Katherine’s choice of a higher class life, we see her transported to such a state of despair that all we want is for her to be reunited with “her” Heathcliff. Director David Hankins calls this adaptation, by Lucy Gough, “tremendous” and he and the rest of the Loft team have absolutely done it justice. (Sundari Cleal)
Charlotte Brontë, though she despised the lack of passion in Jane Austen’s fiction, nonetheless produced a novel — “Jane Eyre” — whose characters have invited similar treatments. Among these, Jean Rhys’ “Wide Sargasso Sea” (1966) changed the way critics look at “Jane Eyre” by showing its events from the point of view of Mr. Rochester’s sidelined wife. It’s unlikely that “Longbourn” will have the same radical effect on “Pride and Prejudice,” though it could suggest that readers whose imaginations have gently rambled the Bennets’ world might take a more strenuous approach. Certainly, of the many literary rethinkings of Austen’s work, “Longbourn” is one of the most engaging and rewarding. (Claire Hopley)Female First interviews writer Mary Robinette Kowal with focus on her book Shades of Milk and Honey.
The book has been compared to Jane Eyre and Jane Austen, so how does that make you feel? The Austen comparisons delight me, because I was actively creating an homage to her work with the first book. The Jane Eyre comparisons surprised me, to be honest, but in hindsight it's easy to see why people make the connection. Both Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë created the romantic leads in the Byronic vein. I suspect any time you have a period novel with a brooding male lead that those two authors will be invoked. What is interesting to me is how very different Darcy and Rochester are. Darcy seems afflicted with serious social anxiety and clings to rigid conventions as a sort of safety net. Rochester on the other hand, flouts social conventions left and right. What they have in common is wealth and the smoldering eye. (Lucy Walton)
Yet we must keep the purpose of these romantic novels in sight: to entertain. Reading trashy romance is just like watching bad soaps on TV – easy entertainment. We could say that the issues of fantasy and a lack of realism could be projected on to any work of romantic literature, ‘Pride and Prejudice’ or ‘Jane Eyre’; the soaps of the 19th Century? (Eve Wersocki Morris)
Because what is Dracula, if not a big softie? A Byronic hero in the same bloodless vein as Heathcliff or Lord Rochester. (David Crow)
Sciences Po Paris is a school of social studies that has forged the French political elite for over a century. The last four French presidents studied there (although Nicolas Sarkozy never made it through to graduation). It is prestigious, highbrow, and very serious. This fall, Sciences Po is offering a new class called “Literary, Psychoanalytic, and Political Approach in Harry Potter.” [...]
Throughout the course, [François] Comba compares the books with other works of literature that, he argues, have influenced J.K. Rowling. Harry’s childhood at Privet Drive is studied in parallel with the early years of Jane Eyre in Charlotte Brontë’s novel, and the scene where Harry defeats the Basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets is compared to the work of Ludovico Ariosto, a 16th century Italian poet. (Marie Telling)
Lots of people cheat, all the time (it’s difficult to get exact figures – they veer between 25 and 70 per cent for women, and 40 and 80 per cent for men some of the time), yet infidelity remains the deadliest of sins. We are obsessed with it, yet have somehow created a series of complicated and convoluted rules and narratives that films, books, television programmes, celebrities and the media have to follow to make cheating acceptable: [...]Surely the whole point of Jane Eyre is that it is NOT acceptable, isn't it?
3. If you’re married to someone in a lunatic asylum/attic who is showing no signs of recovering from the unnamed mental illness that renders them either comatose or psychotic at all times. (see: Downton Abbey, Jane Eyre). (Rebecca Holman)
A book that could have been written in the time of the Brontë sisters (Jason Diamond)IndieWire's The Playlist looks at '12 Celebrated Novelists-Turned-Screenwriters And How They Fared', which of course includes Aldous Huxley and his script for Jane Eyre 1944.
It’s clear from his screen credits from this period, that studios could think of nothing better to do with Huxley, the famous British novelist, than put him to work on adaptations of other famous British novels, and so he contributed to the Greer Garson/Laurence Olivier “Pride and Prejudice,” which is a very charming if willfully inaccurate version of the Jane Austen classic, and the Joan Fontaine/Orson Welles “Jane Eyre,” which is again an enjoyable watch, even if it does take many liberties with the Charlotte Brontë novel. How much Huxley had a hand in these heavily Hollywoodized films is debatable, however his one produced, solely-authored screenplay gives us more of a taste of what he brought to the table.Broadway Wold Atlanta reports that a production of The Mystery of Irma Vep opened last night at NTC. Il Sussi Diario (Italy) reports that X-Factor participant Violetta Zironi's favourite book is Jane Eyre. Kirsty Wark is featured on the Brontë Parsonage website: at the Brontë Society Annual Literary Lunch and interviewed by Ann Sumner.