Old MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Anne Hathaway, Renee Zellweger: Too Babelicious For The Biopic?


Jane Austen is one of the giants of literature. But in the words of one of her modern day publishers, “the poor soul didn’t have anything going for her in the way of looks.” Sweet. Two hundred years on, and a bestselling writer still has to worry about getting her author portrait spiffed up and PhotoShopped. (See Gawker’s discussion: Jane Austen — Book Hot?)
From Barbara Ellen via the Guardian, “If even the literary establishment thinks one of its biggest female hitters is a dog, what hope does Austen, or any ‘ordinary woman’, have in Hollywood?
The beauty gap between real-life figures and the actors who play them is nothing new — consider the middlin-pretty to decidedly unhandsome crowned heads of Europe portrayed by Greta Garbo, Vanessa Redgrave and Cate Blanchett. When it comes to casting of actresses to play well-known writers, Ellen argues, though, the distance between iconic author portrait and Hollywood becomes even more vast. Hilarious, almost
Cases in point: the undeniably lovely Anne Hathaway (THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA) plays the young Jane Austen in BECOMING JANE , a fanciful, not-exactly true romance of the young Englishwoman’s maybe-romances gone wrong. (Austen did not marry.) Hathaway is a fine actress — she made you believe she was gawky in THE PRINCESS DIARIES. But one thing she isn’t is plain, even intermittently–not in the way Joan Fontaine, another beautiful actress, could make you believe she was in REBECCA and SUSPICION.
Ellen takes further issue with Renee Zellweger in BEATRIX, whom she says is too cute by half to play children’s book author and illustrator Beatrix Potter.
Well, take a number. Frida Kahlo wasn’t the hot number that Salma Hayek is, and I doubt very much that anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce was as boyishly handsome as HORATIO HORNBLOWER hero Ioan Gruffud. No man could be. And William Shakespeare: he was no Joseph Fiennes.
Becoming Jane is out now in the UK. Miramax says it will release the film on August 3.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon