The bigwigs over at the BBC should be pleased to hear that Natalie Portman, the latest big screen Anne Boleyn, has reportedly pulled out of the upcoming adaptation of Emily Bronte’s classic period novel, Wuthering Heights. With so much dust kicked up over the fact that Juno star, Ellen Page, has been signed up to play another classic British literary character, Jane Eyre, the news that the role of Catherine Earnshaw is back on the table for a Brit to claim should be music to their ears.
Portman, who most recently donned an excellent British accent for The Other Boleyn Girl, was said to have lobbied hard for the role of Earnshaw, even after the director, John Maybury, stated that he was hoping to cast an English star. However, according to Digital Spy she now seems to have exercised her woman’s prerogative and has turned tail on the production, angering some of her ex co-workers in the process. One insider was quoted by the Daily Mail (an English newspaper) as saying:
“It’s fair to say we were seduced by her and we should have been on our guard.”
This seems a little harsh, but when a star requests casting approval on a central character (in this case Cathy’s lover, the wild and un-tameable Heathcliff, whose character is currently tipped for Michael Fassbender), it does imply a certain amount of interest, especially when the star has already had to battle to convince the producers to hire her in the first place.
These same producers have not yet commented on the story, and are back in the process of searching for their leading lady. With actresses like Sienna Miller and Keira Knightly previously linked to the role, let’s hope that they think British this time. Knightly in particular has proven she can handle the era’s demands in the most recent adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, but would she return to a corset after all the discomfort of Pirates? With shooting due to begin in the autumn, it’s fair to say that the casting people need to get their skates on here.