Focus features offers up a new feature film version of Charlotte Bronte’s famous Gothic tale, about the titular governess, whose employer Rochester has a mysterious, guilty secret lurking in the attic. The tale is not, strictly speaking, horror, but there is a moody aura and things do go bump in the night. Cary Fukunaga directed, from a screenplay by Moira Buffini. Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender star, with Jamie Bell and Dame Judi Dench in support.
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Focus Features and BBC Flms have just announced that Mia Wasikowska (ALICE IN WONDERLAND) and Michael Fassbender (INGLORIOUS BASTERDS) will star in a new adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel, Jane Eyre, to be directed by Cary Fukunaga. Although it’s not exactly horror, Bronte’s story has more than its share of Gothic machinery, including a vulnerable orphan girl working as a governess in a dark and foribidding mansion, whose alluring owner, Rochester, has dark and troubling secrets locked away in a tower. (Famously, the basic scenario served as the plotline for Val Lewton’s classic 1940s horror film, I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE.)
Read the complete press release below:
LONDON, March 18, 2010 Production begins next week in the U.K. on Focus Features and BBC Films romantic drama Jane Eyre, produced by Ruby Films and based on Charlotte Brontës classic novel. Cary Fukunaga, whose debut feature was Focus award-winning Sin Nombre, is directing Jane Eyre, to which Focus holds worldwide rights. Focus CEO James Schamus made the announcement today.
Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) and Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds) will star in the lead roles of the romantic drama. In the story, Jane Eyre (Ms. Wasikowska), flees Thornfield House, where she works as a governess for wealthy Edward Rochester (Mr. Fassbender). The isolated and imposing residence and Mr. Rochesters coldness have sorely tested the young womans resilience, forged years earlier when she was orphaned. As Jane reflects upon her past and recovers her natural curiosity, she will return to Mr. Rochester and the terrible secret that he is hiding
The screenplay adaptation is by Moira Buffini, who for Ruby and BBC Films adapted the upcoming Tamara Drewe. Rubys Alison Owen (an Academy Award nominee for Elizabeth) and Paul Trijbits (Fish Tank) are producing Jane Eyre. Christine Langan, Creative Director of BBC Films, is executive-producing for the BBC. Focus senior vice president, European production Teresa Moneo is supervising the project for president of production John Lyons.
The supporting cast includes Jamie Bell (of Focus September release The Eagle of the Ninth), Academy Award winner Judi Dench, Holliday Grainger (of the upcoming Bel Ami), Golden Globe Award winner Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky), Tamzin Merchant (of Focus Pride & Prejudice), and Imogen Poots (of the May release Solitary Man). The director of photography on Jane Eyre is Adriano Goldman, reteaming with Mr. Fukunaga following their acclaimed collaboration on Sin Nombre. Will Hughes-Jones (Survivors) is the production designer; Academy Award winner Michael OConnor (The Duchess) is the costume designer.
Mr. Schamus said, Cary is the ideal choice to realize this unforgettable story in its traditional setting, yet with contemporary vitality and spirit. With two of todays most promising new stars in Mia and Michael, plus an outstanding supporting cast, this will be a Jane Eyre for the ages.
Ms. Langan added, Were delighted to bring together two such fresh and impressive talents as director Cary Fukunaga and screenwriter Moira Buffini. Added to the gorgeous cast Cary has assembled, this is exactly the treatment Charlotte Brontës evergreen classic Jane Eyre deserves.
Ruby Films is currently completing the aforementioned Tamara Drewe, directed by Stephen Frears. The company last produced John Alexanders award-winning telefilm Small Island; and Oliver Hirschbiegels Five Minutes of Heaven, starring Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt. Ms. Owen also recently executive-produced the acclaimed telefilm Temple Grandin, directed by Mick Jackson and starring Claire Danes.