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Hollywood icons don’t typically get full biopic treatment anymore. The preference now is to isolate a specific moment in the subject’s life, maybe the making of a certain film (i.e. My Week With Marilyn and Hitchcock) or maybe the person’s final days (as in the case of Rob Zombie’s newly announced Groucho Marx movie) or perhaps a hot romance straight out of the gossip rags and into the history books.
Or historical novel, as in the case of the adaptation of Chris Greenhalgh’s “Seducing Ingrid Bergman,” a 2012 book dramatizing the real-life affair between actress Ingrid Bergman and war photographer Robert Capa. The movie version has been in development for a couple years, with Arash Amel on board as producer and screenwriter.
He gave us the Hollywood biopic Grace of Monaco, which received mostly negative reviews, and that’s possibly hurt this next venture a bit. But the latest update on the project is promising.
Deadline reported late last week that James Mangold is in talks to direct the movie. He of course made Walk the Line, a more traditional life story biopic about Johnny Cash but one that was very appealing, in part because of the Oscar-nominated performances by Joaquin Phoenix and especially Reese Witherspoon as June Carter. Like Seducing Ingrid Bergman, Walk the Line also dealt with an extramarital romance.
Now that this is really happening, it’s time to start proposing names for who might portray the leads, especially the more recognizable Bergman. Little White Lies lists suggestions including Natalie Portman, Rooney Mara and Alicia Vikander, the last of whom is Swedish like the woman she’d play and has already voiced Bergman for the new documentary Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words. She’s a bit young for an on screen portrayal (and short, but not as bad as the other two), but I think she’d do a great job.
Bergman’s daughter Isabella Rossellini is sadly too old for the role, only because this won’t be experimental like her and Guy Maddin’s short My Dad Is 100 Years Old, in which she played her mom, plus Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, David O. Selznick and others.
Here’s hoping Seducing Ingrid Bergman is a success at least in a way that influences people to seek out not necessarily Greenhalgh’s book but (also) “Ingrid Bergman: My Story,” a combination autobiography and biography by the actress and Alan Burgess. It’s my favorite Hollywood biopic, and it’s also the first place the Capa affair was revealed.
Pick up a copy this summer in honor of the actress’s 100th birthday coming up in August.
Now watch her in an extended clip from Hitchcock’s Notorious, shot right after she met Capa for the first time, for a look at what she looked and sounded like around the time: