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A hundred and sixty four years after Emily Bronte first published “Wuthering Heights” and more than twenty adaptations later, it seemed safe to say there was no more new or innovative way to tell the story of star crossed lovers Cathy and Heatcliffe (short of a Seth Grahame-Smith retooling), but if reviews are to be believed, director Andrea Arnold has done just that with her new film, described as “raw”, “gritty” and “bare” and a plethora of words never before associated with big screen adaptations of Victorian novels.
From what mysterious little has been revealed by previous promo materials, like the first trailer, we believe it. Today the first stills have been released that actually feature our ill-fated lovers – played in youth by Shannon Beer and Solomon Glave, and as adults by Kaya Scodelario and James Howson – though even here, the long stretches of moor and sky are still featured prominently. “Wuthering Heights” will be released in the UK on November 11 following a premiere at the London Film Festival. [Empire]
Andrea Arnold’s retelling of the classic story Wuthering Heights has been one of the most anticipated films of the year. It premièred at this year’s Venice Film Festival to mixed reviews, with The Playlist calling it “incredibly powerful, extremely sexy … and a truly remarkable reinvention of a text”, but Variety complained about the “languorous repetitiveness” and the Guardian finding a “problem [with] the faint stiffness and self-consciousness of the acting and the crucial lack of chemistry.”
Starring a cast of unknown talent – Solomon Glave, James Howson, Shannon Beer and Kaya Scodelario – the first teaser trailer has today been released for this adaptation, and this writer’s opinion so far falls in line with the latter reviews above. The setting looks impressive (a feature of Arnold’s work is that she often allows the setting to become a character, and it looks like nothing has changed here), as does the cinematography … but it all looks rather boring.
No doubt much of the savage action that has been hinted at in several reviews will be kept away from these trailers, but we look forward to viewing the full film – it will be showing at the London FIlm Festival before wide release in the UK on November 11th.
Andrea Arnold has gone to great lengths to keep her upcoming adaptation of Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights” under wraps, and indeed, it’s only after filming has wrapped that we’ve gotten the identity of Heathcliffe, one half of a tormented couple whose love/hate relationship transcends generations and even life and death. Unknown British actor James Howson reluctantly confirms to The Daily Mail that indeed, it was him who landed the coveted and much speculated about role opposite “Skins” star Kaya Scodelario as Cathy. Howson is believed to be the first non-white actor to ever portray the role on screen, though Bronte’s writing describes Heathcliffe as being “dark-skinned gypsy in aspect and a little lascar”.
Also sticking closer to the source material is the age of the actors. Howson is in his early 20s and Scodelario is 18, while previous versions had much older and more established actors in the roles. A set source says, “Previous versions have had people in their mid-30s running up and down the moors and that is not what the novel is about at all. This is all about going back to basics.”
Howson, who has absolutely no presence on the internet at all, only spoke to the media after the film’s wrap party, and still seems hesitant to give anything away. “The filming went really well. Yeah, I’m from Leeds. I don’t really know if I’m supposed to be doing this. I should really speak to someone first – not my agent – someone else.”
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