Dear Keira–you are old news. Now Carey gets everything.
Last fall we heard rumors that Keira Knightley was in talks to star as Eliza Doolittle in a remake of the classic musical “My Fair Lady,” with her frequent collaborator Joe Wright directing. At the time, I expressed my dismay about this–I have no problem with a remake of the 1964 movie starring Audrey Hepburn in an array of stunning costumes, as I don’t think it’s that great (though I’d do lots of things to win a trip back to the 1950s to see Julie Andrews perform in the original stage production). However, I wondered why they couldn’t cast someone in one of the theater’s great musicals who can, you know, sing.
Well, it looks like I don’t have to worry about admitted non-singer Keira taking over the role; apparently she and Wright are no longer involved. Luckily, the glorious Emma Thompson is–she’s rewriting the screenplay–and she said at the premiere of her new film “Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang” that she believes Carey Mulligan is now going to play Eliza.
I have no idea if Carey Mulligan can sing or not, so I won’t throw my hands up in despair yet at this news. But there’s this troubling trend I see where there’s always the latest, hot young thing on the scene and she has to be cast in everything, whether she is right for it or not. And I have the feeling that Mulligan’s name is up just because she’s that latest thing, not because anyone knows or cares whether she can sing in the kind of classic, musical theater soprano the role calls for. So the jury’s still out on how depressed I should be about this rumor, but my hopes aren’t high.
Thompson did throw out an intriguing name for the male lead, Henry Higgins–she’d like to see Hugh Grant do it. He’d be much more like Leslie Howard’s version of Higgins in the non-musical “Pygmalion,” the 1938 film of the original George Bernard Shaw play. And I mean that as a good thing, because that’s a damn fine movie. If they want to head more for the Rex Harrison type (Harrison originated the Higgins role in “My Fair Lady” onstage and played him in the movie), in age, not demeanor, I’ll toss out the name Jude Law. For those of you who don’t know the show, the role of Higgins was written for a non-singer, and Harrison pretty much just talked through his songs, so we don’t have to worry about finding a singer (though many accomplished singers have played the role). Here’s a kind of wild card name to throw out at you–how about Alfred Molina? He’d be on the older end of things, but so was Harrison. Even wilder, how about Daniel Craig? Like I said, this is the easy one because we don’t need a singer. It’s Eliza that we have to worry about. And I’m worried.