Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Brideshead Revisited -- Revisited?

A new adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's beautiful novel Brideshead Revisited is set to be released in theaters near you, maybe? Hopefully? We'll see. You know I can just rhapsodize for days about my love for the original Brideshead Revisited - the miniseries shown on Masterpiece Theater in the early 1980s starring a young and relatively unknown Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews, who I think was brilliant in the role of Sebastian Flyte. The whole cast was brilliant from Sebastion and Charles' Oxford buddies to the Flyte family to dear old Sir John Gielgud. The cinematography, the locations, the costumes, just about everything was spot on, of the period, and just breathtaking. My love affair with Britain started right around this time, and I have this beautiful story told so visually well to thank for it.

my beloved, well-worn copy featuring Aloysius and a dashing young Jeremy Irons

So I do hope that the new Brideshead Revisited movie does some justice to the novel and to its small screen predecessor. The new cast boasts Emma Thompson going head to head with Claire Bloom's characterization of Sebastion's mother. Now an interesting bit of trivia that is posted on IMDB is that while David Yates (he who directed Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) was set to direct Brideshead, a more well-known group of actors were set to play the three characters seen above in the photo. Paul Bettany was set to play Charles, his real-life love Jennifer Connelly was set to play Sebastian's sister Julia, and Jude Law was supposed to take on the tragic role of Sebastian. AWESOME casting or what? Although I think it might be wiser to attach relatively unknown actors to the parts (like in the original), I could see Bettany, Connelly, and Law (especially Law) as those characters. Alas it was all for not. Whether those casting rumors were true or not, Yates did not end up directing Brideshead and the trio of actors did not take up those roles.

I think the miniseries also spoiled those of us who watched it in that it took the time to really flesh out the characters and the events. The movie's screenwriters had a lot of work to whittle the lovely material down to a mere 100 minutes, as is again stated in IMDB. According to that website, the film is completed and set to release in the Netherlands (?) in September of this year. There was also a rumor that they filmed scenes at Castle Howard again for the movie. Oh I do hope so!

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