Which book would you love to see adapted into a film?
I'll get to that – because there is something else that is getting screen time: history. History is hot. History is money. And one family in particular is attracting the attention of filmmakers who know as much about their subject as I know about roof thatching. In their eyes, the Tudors are tight-bodiced, heaving, pouting, smooth-faced and spotless.
I can start with the soon-to-be-relased The Other Boleyn Girl. Now, it's a little unfair to tease it for any inaccuracies, as its origins are in Philippa Gregory's book of historical fiction. It's speculative reality. Also the relations between Anne and Mary Boleyn are not my strong points. I do, however, know that Anne was black-haired and olive-skinned, slim and sharp. I just don't think that a dewy Natalie Portman is the girl for the job. And why the devil someone couldn't run to the nearest drugstore and buy a henna rinse for Eric Bana (Henry VIII's hair was auburn – a small point maybe, but still a physical trait closely associated with the man) is beyond me.
And then there was Showtime's gangsta epic, The Tudors, starring 'Henry 8'. I've written about this in more detail, some time ago. But suffice it to say that the sight of a whisper-thin, brooding Henry, in a blouson shirt and tight, shiny pants simply withers my soul. People, I am not interested in your new, swinging version of history. History has happened. It is an established fact. That's why we call it history. Don't f*ck with it.
Moving on. First, let me say that I positively revere Helen Mirren. She's tough, talented, dignified and beautiful. I just can't understand why she portrayed Elizabeth I as a hormone-addled schoolgirl.
When she and Leicester (Jeremy Irons) were strolling together towards her assembled army at Tilbury, where she would give her famous speech, she said something like, "You know, Bobby, my Edible Earl, I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a King!" He pauses…he has a look in his eyes…yes: it…just…might…work…
Cut to the next scene, she's speaking to her men and using that very line. I believe that is when I set my hair on fire and went outside to howl at the moon.
I can't say much about Elizabeth: The Golden Age. I haven't seen it, and you know Aubrey likes to be fair.
And on a side, non-Tudor note: Ms. Coppola: if the only way you can portray a teenager's angst – as she is flung from the safety of her home to a foreign court, to marry a foreign king – is to throw in a pair of Keds amongst her satin slippers, you, madam, deserve to be slapped. History has its own irony – it doesn't need yours.
OK. That's better. As for books to film: this weekend I read in Vanity Fair that a screen version of 'Brideshead Revisited' is in the offing. I will be watching developments very carefully. I've read the book close to ten times. I've seen the PBS series nearly as often. Both are thrillingly wonderful. Suffice to say, I know the story well.
I didn't find any of the acting choices offensive. Julie Flyte looked a little lost, but perhaps she'd just had an ice cream and was exhibiting the symptoms of a brain freeze. I am pleased to say that Emma Thompson will play Lady Marchmain – however in her photo, she looked a little too cold, too intimidating. Weren't her destructive qualities seen only through th eyes of the most dysfunctional members of her family – her husband and her younger son? Still, she was weariang a lovely olive and black cloak, so that made it better.
I know that I can be too judgemental when it comes to historical re-enactments and portrayals. I can be very steely-eyed when it comes to a new interpretation of something I care deeply about. But I'm not saying people shouldn't try.
They had just better be careful.
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