Shooting has begun on a new film version of The Picture of Dorian Gray. Written by Oscar Wilde, “The Picture of Dorian Gray” was published in 1891 after appearing as a story in Lippincott’s magazine in 1890. Wilde’s dark morality horror story is more relevant than ever in a world that embraces youth and in which botulism has been turned into Botox, freezing faces into a youthful mask. Wilde would have been fascinated but a modern world of cosmetic surgery where some celebrities eventually become unrecognizable in their quest to look young.
Joan Rivers anyone?
Set in Victorian London it follows the decline of the beautiful Dorian Gray. His beauty inspires painter Basil Hallward to create his finest work, a picture of Dorian Gray. When the painting is finished Dorian is distraught at the prospect of losing the physical beauty the portrait has captured. He wishes that he can stay forever young and beautiful while the painting absorbs the ravages of time and his personal behavior.
Lord Henry Wotton takes Dorian under his debauched wing introducing him to the baser things in life. Dorian soon sees the changes in his character reflected in the portrait.
It’s no surprise the book was a scandalous success.
The book was made into a variety of film and television versions with the most famous released in 1945 starring Donna Reed, Angela Lansbury, George Saunders as the corrupting influence Lord Henry and Hurd Hatfield as Dorian Gray.
The new film adaptation of Wilde’s book stars Colin Firth as Lord Henry Wotton and Ben Barnes as Dorian Gray. Barnes has the appropriate prettiness required as the internally corrupted, outwardly perfect, Dorian. Colin Firth is a good choice as Lord Henry. He can easily take on the role of the bored, corrupted aristocrat who likes to spread the joy of all things sinful.
It’s a great book, a great story and if it’s done well could find an audience of moviegoers who would love to see a literate horror film.