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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

March 31, 2010 at 3:52 PM

A Bronte festival? “Jane Eyre,” “Wuthering Heights” on the way

Some stories resonate so strongly with us, they just keep on being filmed. Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre,” one of my favorite books, is one of them: It’s been adapted for film or television more than a dozen times, mostly recently in a beautifully stark 2006 BBC version starring Ruth Wilson and showing on Masterpiece Theatre. And lately I’ve been wondering about yet another new characterization of that small, resilient governess: Mia Wasikowska, currently in theaters in another adaptation of a Victorian novel, Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland.” Though Wasikowska doesn’t resemble the Jane in my head (that Alice-blonde hair isn’t helping), she does have a lovely watchful, quiet quality that might well suit the character. And I like the looks of the supporting cast: Michael Fassbinder (of “Fish Tank” and “Inglourious Basterds”) as the brooding Mr. Rochester, Jamie Bell (who’s all grown up since “Billy Elliot”) as the steadfast St. John, Judi Dench as kindly housekeeper Mrs. Fairfax and Sally Hawkins as the terrifying Mrs. Reed. Cary Fukunaga (“Sin Nombre”) will direct, and the movie is currently filming in Great Britain and will be in theaters sometime next year. Do we need another “Jane Eyre”? This version will have to answer that question. Reader, I can’t wait.
And, speaking of the Brontes, a new big-screen version of “Wuthering Heights” looks to be on the way as well. Scripted by Olivia Hetreed, it’s been in the works for several years with cast members and directors coming and going, but is currently in the hands of director Andrea Arnold (who’s never done a period piece, but whose “Red Road” and “Fish Tank” are small masterpieces of tense character study). Casting has not yet been announced (though it’s rumored she’s looking for newcomers, as she did with “Fish Tank”), but filming will be under way later in the spring.

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