Wednesday, June 15, 2011

More Classic Lit coming to DVD and Cinemas

There is a lot of news circulating around screen adaptations finding there way onto the big screen and DVD. I thought I might share my excitement with you, seeing that there seems to be a lot to be excited about. This year is definitely THE year for Classic Lit in the cinemas because some of the most acclaimed directors are now taking on well known pieces of Lit and translating them to the big screen. It started out with Cary Fukunaga's beautiful adaptation of "Jane Eyre" and now we begin to move on to Andrea Arnold's "Wuthering Heights", which will hopefully be released later this year. But it doesn't just stop in 2011. In 2012, well known director Joe Wright is set to release his adaptation of the much loved "Anna Karenina." I love it! It seems like a proclaimed "Lit lover" will have a lot to look forward to in the year to come. Buckle up and hold on. It should be an exciting ride.

Jane Eyre 2011 DVD Release:
First off, let me give a large thanks to the Bronte Blog who always gets the news before I do. For those of you who haven't seen it already, I'm pleased to announce the release date for the DVD of Cary Fukunaga's "Jane Eyre" as well as give you what news I have on it.  I'm pretty sure that the release is obviously for America only, since the movie doesn't even make it to screens in Europe until early September. For all those who might be accessing this blog from another country, I'm horribly sorry.

The DVD is being released August 16th. The most important to report is that the DVD will have special features that include some of the pieces already released such as "To Score Jane Eyre" and "The Mysterious Lighting of Jane Eyre." If you haven't seen those things then you can access them on the movie's official website by Focus Features. The DVD will also include deleted scenes (thank you Jesus!) and a commentary by Cary Fukunaga.

All this happiness could not come without a bit of sadness, however. That sadness stems from the fact that as far as we know, there most likely will not be a director's cut of the movie that so many people (including me) longed for. A director's cut is, of course, when we see the deleted scenes mixed in with the movie in its entirety and get to enjoy Cary Fukunaga's original 2 hour 30 minute vision for the movie. Obviously the filmakers don't understand the gravity of what a director's cut could do. For me, this Jane Eyre was almost 95% perfect in every way, but it wasn't my definitive version because of the lack of time. If there was a director's cut available, then perhaps that 5% could have been filled and I might have found what I was looking for.  *sigh*....Oh well.

Andrea Arnold's "Wuthering Heights" News:
There's not much going on with "Wuthering Heights" so far. As I've said before, they're keeping this movie on a very low profile for some reason. There's only one poster, no screencaps or trailers and absolutely nothing to go by. The only thing I've been able to dig up so far is that the soundtrack will feature a song or two recorded by Mumford & Sons, a highly praised grammy award nominated band. The film released a teaser at the pre-Cannes Festival party that received a positive reaction and is reportedly premiering at the Venice Film Festival. These are very generalized facts that give us no insight whatsoever into how the movie will actually turn out, but in case you're curious, here is the casting:

  • Kaya Scodelario: Catherine Earnshaw

  • James Howson: Heathcliff

  • Oliver Milburn: Mr. Linton

  • Nichola Burley: Isabella Linton

  • James Northcote: Edgar Linton

  • Amy Wren: Frances Earnshaw

  • Steve Evets: Joseph

  • Paul Hilton: Mr. Earnshaw

  • Simone Jackson: Catherine Linton

  • Anna Karenina 2012
    I have to admit that I saved the best news for last. I for one am EXTREMELY excited for Joe Wright's version of Anna Karenina to start blooming. I was never a big fan of Anna Karenina because it just never really struck a resounding chord with me. Still, I enjoyed the book enough to know a decent bit about it and to be excited about the fact that it's taking a turn on the big screen. Not only that, but it's being handled by one of the best directors in the game right now.

    Joe Wright is an artist, and he particularly has a great talent for filming beautiful adaptations of well known Literature. I loved his modern but rather faithful take on Pride and Prejudice, and Atonement was an absolute masterpiece. He also directed The Soloist, which was vastly underrated.

    Joe Wright has only taken a few turns around the block, but he's proven that he can handle some pretty big jobs. He's also made it clear that he sticks to what he knows. All three of his movies have soundtracks provided by Dario Marianelli, who won the academy award for his work on Atonement and who also provided the sounds for Cary Fukunaga's beloved Jane Eyre soundtrack.

    Yes, Joe Wright definitely doesn't take a lot of chances. What he's done has worked for him in the past and it doesn't seem like he wants to change it up, especially when it comes to his lead roles. He has casted Kiera Knightley in the titular role of Anna Karenina, marking the third time that he's made her his leading lady. Kiera has also been around the block a few times when it comes to period films, so I'm sure she can pull this one off just as well. Matthew McFadyen (aka Mr. Darcy 2005) is also coming back to work with Joe Wright and is set to play Stiva Oblonsky, Anna's brother.

    Anna Karenina is definitely using a lot of star power. Jude Law (swoon) has been casted as Anna's infamous husband, Karenin, and Aaron Johnson steps up to play Anna's young lover, Vronsky. The cast also includes Kelly Macdonald, Olivia Williams, Andrea Riseborough, Saoirse Ronan, and Domhnall Gleeson.

    As a whole, this movie (unlike Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights) is coming out fast and furious and turning a lot of heads. I'm ready to see how this novel (which is considerably longer than Jane Eyre) will translate to the big screen. If I were you, I would read or brush up on the novel. It truly is a great piece of Literature and I'm sure that this movie will do it justice. I guess we'll see.

    I'm floating on a cloud of joy right now. There's so much to read, watch, and anticipate. I will definitely be keeping myself busy. As usual, comments are always welcome! Give me your insights!


    1. What I found to be the most pathetic is that Jane Eyre didn't get a wide release. It didn't come to my town at all until recently and then it was in a small theatre that I am not able to get to at present due to transportation. I don't get it. Why couldn't they have had a wide release of the movie? Instead, the local theatre had other movies that bombed at the box office get a longer theatrical run. So, I am going to have to wait until the movie gets on Netflix, hopefully in August. I want to see this one very much because i have heard many good things about it and I also want to see how it compares with my #1 favorite (the 2006 version) and my #2 favorite (the 1973 version).

    2. I completely agree. I don't understand why it didn't get a wide release either because I'm sure that it would have done considerably well. It's rather ironic because the filmakers kept saying that they wanted this movie to translate to a wider audience, and yet they released the movie to theatres where "wider audiences" don't necessarily go. It's a very good movie, very much worth the wait. You're comparing it to some very heavy (and long) contenders though. :)

    3. That is very ironic. I was wondering where all the period drama movies went this year. I'm glad to see there are a few being made but it would be nice to have more.

      LOL, as for as comparing it to heavy contenders, that's fine :). I suppose I should compare it to the 1996/1997 movies to see how they dealt with the time issue. I don't like either one of those two adaptations since Ciran Hinds (who was good in Persuasion) is Mr. shouty man and William Hurt in the other one looks like he was about to fall asleep. He was so boring! As for as the Janes, they weren't bad but in the case with Samantha Morton, her open mouthed kisses were cringe worthy.

      Anyway, I am excited about seeing it although I'll have to wait until August. I'll keep an open mind. I think that a Jane Eyre adaptation is either successful or not due to the relationship (aka chemistry) between the actor/actress playing Rochester and Jane. That is also why I don't like the 1983 version. I know that many, many people like it because it is very close to the book but it also drags, is boring, and Clarke who plays Jane is terrible. Dalton is ok as Rochester but to me he doesn't convey his humor and flirtyness that other Rochester's have done. Sure, he gets the gruffness now. Almost all the Rochesters get that down at the expense of some of the other aspects of Rochester's character.

      I felt, that even though there are flaws in the scripting of the 2006 version, it did manage to capture the spirit of the novel as well as the essence of the characters. Stephens was amazing as well as Wilson. As for as the 1973 version, the chemistry between Cusack and Jayston was very well conveyed (as it was in the 2006 version too). Granted, the 1973 version had its problems in the area of production values and too many voice overs. LOL, my husband pointed out the fact that all Cusack does is stare into the camera when one of those voice overs came on. He would say "get on with it already" or "show, not tell."

      So, my husband and I are looking forward to it. I hope it will be good :).

    4. I agree with you on every single word you just wrote. Those are my thoughts exactly on those adaptations. The 2006 does do the best job of capturing the essence of the characters and the novel, but it does sacrifice the script.

      After seeing the 2011 version, it tied with the 2006. The 2006 captures the essence of the novel, but sacrifices the script. The 2011 captures the spirit of the novel and characters AND has a BEAUTIFUL script, but sacrifices a lot of the time.

      As far as characters go, I think that 2011 did the best job of really emoting the main characters. You mentioned that it's hard to find a Rochester who isn't JUST gruff, and Fassbender brought the perfect amount of brooding while also finding away to intermix that with flirting. The chemistry between the two leads was great. I can't wait until you see the movie. I'm sure that you'll have a lot to say about it. :)

    5. I've been reading Anna Karenina for the longest time imaginable. Can't even really call it reading, it's just been on hold for about a year and a half. Maybe Joe Wright will be a good incentive ;) I sort of know what happens in the end so maybe that's why, but Anna really got on my nerves, too. Gotta love the writing though, such rich words.

    6. Yea, I never visit Anna Karenina on a frequent basis the way I do Jane Eyre because Anna really was a weak character to me. She got on my nerves too.