No one’s quite as delightfully British as Colin Firth, and the 50-year-old star looks to at last snag an acting Oscar for his turn in The King’s Speech at this month’s Academy Awards ceremony. It comes as little surprise then that Sony reportedly wants him to headline its long in development remake of the classic musical, My Fair Lady.
Keira Knightley has previously been rumored to reunite with her Atonement and Pride and Prejudice director Joe Wright for the project, but now it seems that Carey Mulligan will play the new incarnation of Miss Eliza Doolittle onscreen instead, under the guidance of John Madden (Shakespeare in Love).
The Daily Mail claims that Sony originally preferred Hugh Grant over Firth to play the misogynistic Professor Henry Higgins in a redo of My Fair Lady, but has turned its eye towards the latter now. While Grant may be the more fitting of the two former Bridget Jones’s Diary leading men to follow in the footsteps of Rex Harrison and portray Mr. Higgins on film, there’s just something innately likable about Firth – and his version of the professor would surely be more of a charismatic ass for it.
Firth has a history of being a respected leading man of the silver screen, but his engagingly understated turn in 2009’s A Single Man was only the first to land him some major nominations. While she’s only half his age, Mulligan too popped up for the first time on the Academy’s radar in 2009 with An Education, and kept up the good work in Never Let Me Go last year as well.
The actress is currently attached to star in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, which may or may not be getting underway in the relatively near future. My Fair Lady has not yet been officially greenlit, and filming isn’t expected to begin in London until May of 2012 anyway, so Mulligan’s involvement is certainly still possible.
Fellow English thespian Emma Thompson won an Oscar for scripting Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility adaptation, and her screenplay for the My Fair Lady remake utilizes parts of George Bernard Shaw’s preface and sequel to the play “Pygmalion.” That work itself inspired the original Broadway version of My Fair Lady, which was then turned into a cinematic musical extravaganza by George Cukor back in 1964.
Now, there’s no real reason for a remake of My Fair Lady to exist. Cukor’s film won eight Academy Awards, including that for Best Picture, and remains a treasured staple of its genre amongst musical theater enthusiasts alike. If Sony really is determined to push ahead with this project, then at least they’re eying proper talents like Firth and Mulligan to star – and John Madden is arguably a director who knows how to create lovely period dramas. So it has that going in its favor.
On the other hand – consider the Annie remake, with Willow Smith playing the titular orphan and Jay-Z reworking the show’s classic tunes. If Hollywood really feels the need to press ahead with remakes of these musicals, is it better to more clearly distinguish them from the original (a la Annie) or not stray too far from the original on a surface level, which is what My Fair Lady looks to do?
Or is it all blasphemy regardless?
Everyone has an opinion, so feel free to share yours in the comments section.
Meanwhile, we’ll continue to keep you posted about the development of My Fair Lady and any other musical remakes in the works.
Source: The Daily Mail