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Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009 4:56 pm by M. in ,    9 comments
News from Ecosse's Wuthering Heights project written by Olivia Hetreed and directed by Peter Webber. No more Abbie Cornish or Michael Fassbender, the new names are: Gemma Arterton (Tess 2009, Lost in Austen) and Ed Westwick (Gossip Girl):
Gemma Arterton and Ed Westwick will play Cathy and Heathcliff in Ecosse Films' adaptation of Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights."
Peter Webber will direct the pic after original helmer John Maybury ankled.
Project has also seen a number of cast changes. Natalie Portman was originally tapped to play the role of Cathy. Scheduling conflicts saw her exit the project before being replaced by Abbie Cornish. Arterton will now play the iconic romantic role after producers opted to go younger with the pic.
Ecosse Films' Robert Bernstein and Douglas Rae will produce the film with HanWay Films handling the international sales. (Ali Jaafar in Variety)
Baz Bamigboye gives some more information in the Daily Mail and possible shooting dates: next autumn.
Once the cameras start rolling, we’ll know that Wuthering Heights won’t wobble again.
Recent Bond girl — and Royal Academy of Dramatic Art-trained actress — Gemma Arterton will star with Gossip Girl hunk Ed Westwick in the story of the complicated love between Cathy and Heathcliff.
Director Peter Webber hopes to begin filming Emily Bronte’s tale by the autumn.
Various actresses connected to the film have ‘mutually agreed’ to withdraw for one reason or another, among them Natalie Portman, Sienna Miller and Abbie Cornish.
The very hot Michael Fassbender was ‘attatched’ to play Heathcliff at one point, but since Hunger captivated Cannes last year, the actor hasn’t had a day to himself.
He’s in two films at the festival this year — Fish Tank and Inglourious Basterds — and has many other movies lined up.
Anyway, Westwick, who plays Chuck, the poor little rich boy in U.S. teen drama Gossip Girl, wooed Webber and producer Robert Bernstein to play Heathcliff.
Natalie Portman
‘We’ve cast it as written,’ said Bernstein, whose production company Ecosse Films has been developing the film for nearly three years. Gemma has just turned 23, while Ed is 21.
‘Heathcliff’s a teen, and the story takes him into his early 20s. Cathy is just as young,’ Bernstein said.
‘It’s radical because usually actors playing these characters are much older.’
‘We’re very proud to have British actors,’ Bernstein added, a reference to a point I made last year that homegrown actors were perfectly capable and that there was little point casting the likes of Natalie Portman just to attract investors.
And the Hollywood Reporter adds:
Webber will direct from a script by Olivia Hetreed which reunites the team behind the Oscar nominated "Girl With a Pearl Earring." Having a fresh cast and a director on board should mean the project finally begins shooting later this year. (...)
Webber describes the source material as a "powerful, moving and dangerous love story that cries out to be told on the big screen."
For the latest adaptation, Ecosse said it plans to focus on the story of Heathcliff and Cathy, steering away from "stuffy costume drama". (Stuart Kemp)
EDIT (17/05/09):
“The chemistry between Arterton and Westwick will be just staggering,” revealed an executive of Han Way Films, the company handling sales at the Cannes Film Festival.
“Arterton is known for a restrained sensuality which leaps off the screen at you, while Westwick simply drips sex.
“Casting was crucial and I would say they have got it exactly right.
“Screen magic so often relies on technology these days but you can be sure Arterton and Westwick will make it the old-fashioned way.” (Lesley-Ann Jones in The Sunday Express)
Some urgent reactions:

The Telegraph
Gemma Arterton, the Bond girl, and Gossip Girl actor Ed Westwick are to star as Cathy and Heathcliff in a film adaptation of Wuthering Heights which recasts Emily Bronte's passionate tale as a teen drama. (Anita Singh)
Now, instead of the more mature Fassbender and Portman, the principals will be played by Gossip Girl star Ed Westwick and Quantum of Solace's Strawberry Fields, Gemma Arterton. So think Twilight, only without the sparkly vampires and Mormon chastity vibe, but with more bustles and breast-beating.
How Wuthering Heights will fare with Stephanie Meyer's teenage demographic is uncertain -- it seems like it would be more of a hit with the older "Twilight moms" than the Gossip Girl crowd. Bronte's tale of unfulfilled passion is long, convoluted, and focuses on two of the most self-absorbed, egocentric drama queens in literature, who screw each other (and those around them) over in so many ways that it's hard to not want to just punch them in the throat.
On second thought, that sounds a lot like Gossip Girl.
Hetreed also scripted Webber's somnabulent Girl with the Pearl Earring, so it's a safe bet that their Heights will be a similarly slow, pretty-to-look-at parade of costumes, with long takes of Westwick glowering at Arterton with his dark, squinty eyes. There's no word yet as to updating his ridiculous John Mayer haircut, but I'm laying money that he'll have sideburns. (Dawn Taylor)
MTV Movies Blog:
The Twilighters out there are probably very familiar with the plot of the book, as Stephanie Meyer has cited it as an influence on the series, and even referenced it in “Eclipse.” Although it stars one of the most selfish and psychotic couples in all of English literature, there’s no book like it for passionate speeches, barren moors, and visits from the supernatural. It’s one of my personal favorites, and I’ve been frustrated by every adaptation done so far. I’ll hope for the best with this latest announcement, but am prepared for another disappointment. At least there’s always the book, right? (Elisabeth Rappe)
Spotted, GossipGirl Blog:
I think that Ed is the PERFECT actor for this role. Heathcliff is the archetypal tortured lover in literature whose consuming passions destroy him and those around him. It doesn’t seem so far from his role of Chuck Bass now doesn’t it. The only thing that would have made this film better would be if Leighton Meester was cast as Cathy. That would have made Chair fans everywhere foam at the mouth.
If you've never read Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, get to it. Two reasons:
1. It's a classic. You sound smart when you've read a classic.
2. Gossip Girl hottie Ed Westwick is playing the lead of Heathcliff in the new film adaptation. And if you read the book, you will understand how perfect that is.
His leading lady was slated to be Natalie Portman, but Variety is reporting that she was replaced with Gemma Arterton due to scheduling conflicts.
We would have rather had Portman, as we're not sure a Bond Girl can handle the complex role of Cathy, but we'll wait and see the performance to judge.
The Egalitarian Bookworm (Chick?) summarises perfectly BrontëBlog's opinion:
Cathy will be played by that luscious-lipped Tess, Gemma Arterton, who is fantastic. Great choice.
Heathcliff will be played by sneering prepster Chuck Bass Ed Westwick, best known for scheming his way through the NYC independent school landscape. WTF?
Brilliant marketing strategy yes--Wuthering Heights as teen angst melodrama, capturing the hearts of Twilight and Gossip Girl fanladies galore.
But appropriate casting for the wild, menacing, Heathcliff? I'll believe it when I see it.
And The Hollywood Gossip, BuzzSugar, Screencrave, /Film, ohnotheydidnt, Black Book Magazine, Zap2it...

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  1. Gemma Arterton i could not be more happy about. She's been on my list as a possible Cathy for a while now. Could not be happier with that decision. I'm not a hunred percent happy with Ed, i don't know if he has the chops. Time will tell though. He's sure to bring in a certain type of audience though.

  2. I've always said Gemma would make for a good Cathy; if only her Tess co-star, Hans Matheson, were picked for Heathcliff, it would've been inspired casting!

  3. I don't agree with the Heathcliff - Gemma will be a good Cathy. I am not sure anyone can beat the Healthcliff in the recent Masterpiece series - now - THAT'S a Heathcliff!

  4. I agree lacegrll30. Tom Hardy IS Heathcliff! Was in Total command of the character from beginning to end. Charlotte Riley's Cathy was an excellent match for Hardy's Heathcliff. But let's give Westwick a chance. Have not seen him yet. I do not watch Gossip Girl but will view some clips.


  5. I've never seen Gemma Arterton perform before, but I will give her a chance. However, I am 100% happy with the choice for Heathcliff, Ed Westwick will be amazing. He pulls off the darkness/tortured vibe very well. I really look forward to seeing this.

    go to youtube and type in "chuck and blair tell me you love me."
    and thats just one of his amazing scenes.

    he portrays so much emotions out of his eyes.

  6. Looks good to me, at least they are about the right age, i just hope they try to stick close to the book.
    Although i have never heard of any of these Actors i think Ed Westwick looks a good Heathcliff, after all in the book both Cathy and Heathcliff were very young.
    Also Gemma Arterton looks more suited to the part as Cathy than the other actresses they thought about.
    I do find a drama more watchable when i do not know the Actors, as i find them more acceptable in the part that they play.

  7. HALO :)


  8. Westwick is great at acting like a tortured soul whilst still oozing sexuality, I’m sure he will capture the brooding look and dark stare of Heathcliff perfectly. Arterton has an innocence about her, and a beautiful English rose look, and is also a strong actress (I watched ‘Lost in Austen’). I am sure that, as long as they really focus on the raw intensity of the characters and the book, rather than making a glossy Hollywood film, this will be fantastic. Also, it’s about time someone did a good film version of Wuthering Heights!

  9. I cannot understand why so many find Tom Hardy the perfect Heathcliff, as he is nothing like described in the book. Heathcliff was very dark and possibly of Indian or Gypsy descent and Ed Westwick does look like a much better match.
    And any way I think they have now decided to pick different actors to play Cathy and Heathcliff.