Sunday, April 18, 2010

Robert Pattinson as Heathcliff in WUTHERING HEIGHTS?



So, Robert Pattinson isn’t fit to play Kurt Cobain. I agree. On the other hand, I believe that Pattinson would be perfect for the role of Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights.

The anti-Pattinson, anti-Twilight crowd can laugh as much as they want. But nobody broods better than Robert Pattinson, and Emily Brontë’s Heathcliff is the broodingest of all brooding literature heroes. (Okay, so Pattinson is brooding above on the cover of the Italian Vanity Fair, but so what? One broods where one can.)

I’m assuming there’s absolutely no chance whatsoever that Andrea Arnold (replacing Peter Webber who had replaced John Maybury), currently working on another film adaptation of Brontë’s doomed love tale, will even consider Pattinson for the role of Heathcliff.

Too young? Too inexperienced? Too light-skinned? Too associated with Twilight? But with the right handling, I believe that Pattinson would be a brilliant Heathcliff. The intensity, the unpredictability, the danger are all there. True, his hair and features would have to be darkened some — but that’s what makeup artists are for. If they can make his face paler so he’ll look like Edward Cullen, they can also make it darker so he’ll look like Heathcliff.

Ironically, Robert Bernstein, one of the producers of the new film version, has actually told The Guardian that the new Wuthering Heights (adaptation by Olivia Hetreed) is getting off the ground thanks to the Twilight effect. (Wuthering Heights is one of Bella’s favorite books. "If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger.")

"It’s clearly in the zeitgeist," Bernstein remarked. "Why is anybody’s guess, but people are absolutely obsessed with this doomed, romantic love that can only be achieved beyond death, or in the case of Twilight, by becoming a vampire."

As per the Guardian piece, current possibilities to play Heathcliff’s love, the willful Cathy, are Abbie Cornish, Natalie Portman, and Gemma Arterton. I’d opt for either of the first two.

Gossip Girl’s Ed Westwick was supposed to play Heathcliff, at least when Peter Webber was to direct the project. Nothing against Westwick, but is he (at 22) more mature than Robert Pattinson? Does he look more like Brontë’s dark — in spirit as much as in looks — hero? What about another previously mentioned possibility, Michael Fassbender? (Fassbender could actually be a good Heathcliff, too; that is, with the help of those talented makeup artists).

According to more recent reports, Arnold has been looking for an unknown — possibly of "gypsy" (Romany) origin. Personally, I believe looks are less important here than character, depth, and the ability to convey an enticing mix of passion and madness. After all, Heathcliff is a literary figure, not a historical one.

Former movie Heathcliffs include Laurence Olivier, Ralph Fiennes (did he look like Brontë’s hero?), and Timothy Dalton. Former Cathys include Merle Oberon, Juliette Binoche, and Anna Calder-Marshall.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The problem with Pattinson is not that he's too young but the opposite, that's he's a bit too old. Heathcliff was in his teens when he romanced Catherine and only 20 when she died.

As for Catherine - Cornish, Portman and Arterton were crossed off the list of possibilities a long time ago (they were too old anyway). Kaya Scodelario got the role a couple weeks ago.