Friday, June 3, 2011

Liz & Dick: The Movie?

Earlier this week news broke that Paramount Pictures is in talks with Martin Scorsese to direct a film about the love affair of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, based on the book Furious Love by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger.  And sudden chills ache my entire body.  Hollywood lore is endlessly fascinating, and I'm fairly sure not only to the cinema-obsessed like myself; Scorsese has he own lore attached to him, which only adds to the excitement and possibilities of a project (still in the earliest of development stages) that could wind up being absolutely killer.  Taylor and Burton famously met and started their torrid love affair on the set of the ill-fated 20th Century Fox disaster period epic Cleopatra (1963), a film that almost bankrupted the studio, but nonetheless still earned an Oscar nomination for Best Picture that year anyway (the film won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects, beating out the groundbreaking and amazing work on Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, which irks me beyond reason, but alas is off topic.)  The two fell hard for each other, and though both were married at the time, their love affair was and still is likely the definitive Hollywood romance, with Burton, a serious, trained actor of the highest caliber (and master of the Shakespearean tongue), and Taylor, one of the few ultimate voluptuous beauties Hollywood ever had, it must have been Brad and Angelina times a million.

If Scorsese really does this after all, it could end up being the ultimate show...he's famously a cinema buff, and as recently as The Aviator (2004) proved a great showman at recounting old Hollywood, my favorite scenes in the very long, slightly uneven biopic.  The ultimate question (aside from whose brave enough to write this is the first place; no screenwriter has been announced) is who can possibly be cast in these roles.  These are beyond larger than life roles, and simply put, they don't quite make them like they used to.  The acting styles of the days of Burton and Taylor have changed, both on and off set.  The easiest first guess at Taylor would probably be Angelina Jolie, no stranger to scandal or love affairs, or critics dismissing her acting over her looks.  But that may appear too easy.  And what of Burton, an actor of his gravitas almost appears unfathomable today.  Whatever the case, let the casting games begin.

Any ideas?

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