Today’s Unnecessary Adaptation: Mia Wasikowska Set to Star in New ‘Madame Bovary’

What has long set Gustave Flaubert’s “Madame Bovary” apart from other literary works is that it is wildly considered by scholars and other writers alike to be a “perfect” work of fiction and a supreme example of Realism, one elevated by Flaubert’s personal signature of weaving in themes and details and paying particular attention to setting and place. It’s not a very original story – in short terms, it tracks the unhappy marriage of a mismatched pair that ends tragically after the wife’s unfaithfulness, partially sparked by her boredom – but Flaubert’s skill makes the reading of the book its own reward.

Of course, the novel has been adapted for the screen numerous times – including Albert Ray’s 1932 film, MGM’s 1949 film directed by Vincente Minnelli, a 2000 miniseries starring Frances O’Connor, and Claude Chabrol’s 1991 Isabelle Huppert-starring feature. And, of course, it’s high time that Hollywood adapted the novel yet again – its importance as a written work be damned!

Variety reports that Mia Wasikowska will star in a new Madame Bovary as Emma Bovary herself. Wasikowska has become Hollywood’s go-to girl for period pieces, with recent roles in Jane Eyre and Albert Nobbs, so such casting is not surprising. Sophie Barthes (Cold Souls) will direct from a screenplay by Rose Barrenche. The outlet reports that “the adaptation is a period piece that is faithful to Gustave Flaubert’s original story, [but] it is a fresh retelling of the classic novel, em[emphasizing the more youthful and contemporary themes.” What, like having illicit sex and being unsatisfied in life? So like, a hipster adaptation?

Paul Giamatti is reportedly “also circling a key role,” which could likely be the sly and conniving Monsieur Lheureux. The role would reunite Giamatti with Barthes, who directed him in her Cold Souls.

Even with talent on board like Wasikowska and Giamatti, I am unable to stir up even a smidgen of excitement for this project. What about you?

Kate is an entertainment and culture writer and editor living in New York City. She is also a contributing writer for,,, Vulture,,, The Dissolve, Screen Crush, New York Daily News, Mental Floss, and amNY. Her previous work can also be found at MSN Movies, Boxoffice Magazine, and She lives her life like a French movie, Steve.

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