Keats The Movie - the news we've all been waiting for....

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Re: Keats The Movie - the news we've all been waiting for....

Postby Malia » Mon Aug 18, 2008 3:44 am

Yay Saturn! Great pictures and FINALLY a decent article about the movie!!! Well, I am *not* surprised this is coming from Fanny's perspective--I expected it would be that way from near the beginning, considering Campion's feminist perspective and it is true that Fanny would be an intriguing character to build up, as we have little "on" her in real life--especially when it comes to her letters to Keats. I've read that Fanny Brawne was not nearly as emotional as Campion seems to be making her (and, after reading her letters to Fanny Keats, I can understand that POV). In fact, she was quite logical-minded and could appear "cold" to others. I got a sense of that in her letters to Fanny Keats. That she was more of a grounding force in the relationship between Keats and herself while he was the outright emotional one. But who knows?

Frankly, I believe I will be happy with this movie no matter what. I don't care what Keats's hair color is--Ben Wishaw is playing him!! That truly is enough for me (sigh). And it looks, from the interview, as if they will not be having sex. Whew. That was the only thing I really cared about. Make the movie from Fanny's POV? Fine! Knock out George and Fanny Keats? OK! I have good vibes that this will be worth watching even if it doesn't follow history by the book.
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Re: Keats The Movie - the news we've all been waiting for....

Postby Saturn » Mon Aug 18, 2008 6:05 pm

*Grumbles about Ben not looking at all like Keats* :evil:
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Re: Keats The Movie - the news we've all been waiting for....

Postby Malia » Mon Aug 18, 2008 7:02 pm

At least he's not 45. (I've seen actors playing Keats who were!)
And anyway, I think Ben W. is a very capable actor who can convey the spirit of the poet. That's what matters most to me. He doesn't have to be Keats's look-alike to do a fantastic job portraying him. Granted, if they had hired some blond haired, tall GQ type to play Keats I'd have some reservations.
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Re: Keats The Movie - the news we've all been waiting for....

Postby Credo Buffa » Mon Aug 18, 2008 7:18 pm

I'm with you, Malia. Conveying the spirit of Keats is the most important thing. I've actually found anyway that the appearance of a person evolves as you witness him/her in context, so in all likelihood, he'll start to look more and more like Keats throughout the film if he does his job well. ;)
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Re: Keats The Movie - the news we've all been waiting for....

Postby Saturn » Mon Aug 18, 2008 7:39 pm

Well here's hoping, but my scepticism about this film is mounting the more I learn about it :(

I hope my worst fears are disproved.
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Re: Keats The Movie - the news we've all been waiting for....

Postby AsphodelElysium » Tue Aug 19, 2008 12:08 am

I think I'm leaning more with you, Saturn. Maybe its because there was this hope that the movie would be about Keats, but really its looking to be more of an "apology" for Fanny. Yeah, not a Fanny fan. But, Whishaw is a fantastic actor (LOVE Perfume) and Campion is a great director, so I think the movie will be great film, just not a great Keats film. Kinda like the new Pride and Prejudice is a good movie but not necessarily a great adaptation.
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Re: Keats The Movie - the news we've all been waiting for....

Postby Malia » Tue Aug 19, 2008 2:21 pm

You know, I thought I'd be the one upset if this movie wasn't first and foremost about Keats, but I find I am not. It's interesting, because back in my undergrad days a friend and I planned the great Keats movie--and even plotted it out as part of an independent study class. And, I believe that if Keats's life was set as a Masterpiece mini-series, we could really delve into him and all his friend/familial connections. (I would have really played up a love/hate relationship with George and his complex feelings about women--stemming from his relationship with mom, etc.) Fanny would be a *part* of his life, but not the sole focus--til the end. But that kind of a show would probably only please hard core Keats enthusiasts and again, would be more of a mini-series than a movie.

And yet, I'm very much OK with this film. It would be interesting to see how Fanny is portrayed. Perhaps I am a bit of an apologist for Fanny, myself, as I have seen her derided in a very misogynistic fashion by various Keats scholars (of course, I've also seen her praised as a saint by other writers). I wonder if Campion will see her as a *person*--with both faults and redeeming qualities. I think, perhaps, this adaptation of Fanny will be too emotional (a lot of sighing and heaving bosoms?) but it would be very interesting to see her from Campion's perspective. I don't think she (Campion) will do a great injustice to either her or Keats. I think she has great respect for these characters and will not just stomp on them like grapes at harvest time.
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Re: Keats The Movie - the news we've all been waiting for....

Postby AsphodelElysium » Tue Aug 19, 2008 2:37 pm

Agreed. I think you're right, a mini-series would be better suited to give deeper insight into Keats's life. I also think you're right about the fans. Its like LOTR, the purists were furious about the adaptations, but the fans were not. I'm trying to not be like the purists and more like the fans, but Campion is a very good director (I adore The Piano) and I trust that she'll handle everything well.

I dislike Fanny, not because of the scholars, but because she seemed so cold. I derived most of that opinion from her surviving letters and Keats's letters also. They just seemed so ill suited. I think you're right, Campion's Fanny will be more emotional, though, how accurate or inaccurate that is is anyone's guess.
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Re: Keats The Movie - the news we've all been waiting for....

Postby Malia » Tue Aug 19, 2008 4:17 pm

You know, I don't think of Fanny as cold, per se, but as a more practical and reserved sort of person than perhaps Keats might have been (especially when he became ill and started becoming paranoid). Fanny just wasn't the sort of person who wore her emotions on her sleeve. I don't think that makes her "cold" (as in "unfeeling"). I believe she felt very deeply--at least about some things, but did not choose to share her feelings openly with many people. I think I remember reading in a letter from her to Fanny Keats where she confesses to being less "emotional" than most girls. But really, that doesn't make her void of feeling or compassion. I guess I'm just bothered when I hear people call Fanny cold--as if she didn't care at all for Keats or that she didn't "deserve" him. Perhaps he did not deserve *her*. I mean, after all, Keats's love for her got pretty scary, in my opinion. I'd want to step back a bit, myself, if my boyfriend displayed such burning (and not all together flattering) passion for me.

I absolutely agree with you, though, that she and Keats might not have been suited for a long-term relationship. . .although I can see how his passionate nature and her more reserved on could balance each other out. I think, perhaps, if Keats had not gotten TB--and had been more stable emotionally and financially--they might have made a go of it as a married couple. . .but I don't think it would have been the marriage of kindred spirits.
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Re: Keats The Movie - the news we've all been waiting for....

Postby Credo Buffa » Tue Aug 19, 2008 4:37 pm

I agree, Malia. I definitely think Fanny gets an unfairly bad rap, so I'm kind of glad that this Jane Campion is giving her a little chance at redemption. History has tended to view Keats as ever the victim, and Fanny is another casualty of that way of thinking. If anything, I certainly concur with Malia's view that Keats was simply "too intense" for her, and she can hardly be blamed for that.

I think I've said it before, but I get the feeling that if things had been different and Keats had lived to marry Fanny, that they wouldn't have been terribly happy in the end. Keats would really have had to turn down the volume to be able to survive in a kind of relationship that is just as much about the mundane and everyday as it is about the free-wheeling, high-flying passion of being young and in love, and I can't imagine him ever doing that. But then again, that could be because he is forever a young man to us. People certainly do change as they age; Keats could well have become a very different man if he'd made it to 30, been married, had a family. . . But at 23/24/25, I have a hard time believing, especially with the intensity of his aspirations in poetry, that domestic bliss is really what Keats was thinking about.

Hmmm. . . kind of sounds like most 20-something men I've encountered. . . :roll: :P
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Re: Keats The Movie - the news we've all been waiting for....

Postby AsphodelElysium » Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:25 am

Okay, confession time, I am projecting a bit ( :oops: sorry can't help myself). I tend more toward Keats's intensity than Fanny's rationality in just about everything including relationships (probably why I've been single for years) but I either have to hide or tone it down so as not to frighten people. I sympathize with Keats more for that reason.

Perhaps I'm being unfair to Fanny. I don't mean to be. It may have come down to she couldn't return his feelings in the way he needed someone to return his feelings. Its not anyone's fault, it just wasn't meant to work out. Then again, Credo, you have a good point. Keats may have been an entirely different person later on in life. Fanny may have been also. It'll be interesting to see how the movie handles the characters. I wonder how much the letters will play into the film? If we'll get to see Fanny's reactions to some of the things Keats said?
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Re: Keats The Movie - the news we've all been waiting for....

Postby Saturn » Wed Aug 20, 2008 8:56 pm

To be perfectly honest I just want to see a depiction of Keats and his life on screen, that, and a great film. If we get both I'll be happy and all these little niggles will be forgotten.
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Re: Keats The Movie - the news we've all been waiting for....

Postby Saturn » Tue Sep 30, 2008 5:11 pm

I just watched Elizabeth: The Golden Age today, eyeballing a first glimpse of Abbie Cornish at work so to speak.

Good actress, have no fear of that, she will do well as Fanny [though as I've said before a bit too pretty for the rather average looking Fanny].

Damnit why is there no more news on this film; the website hasn't been updated in months.
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Re: Keats The Movie - the news we've all been waiting for....

Postby Malia » Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:41 pm

Hi Everyone,
I found an interesting article about Ben Whishaw today--it was mostly about his role in Brideshead Revisited, but there was a neat little bit about his experience playing Keats in Bright Star as well:

These days he’s busy filming Bright Star in London and Hertfordshire, not far from where he grew up. Playing the frail genius Keats “has blown my mind,” he says. “His poetry has been a revelation.” Working with Campion has likewise altered him: “She always tells me, ‘Let the divine come into you,’ which is what Keats did.” Could it be that Whishaw is channeling the Brooding Romantic within? “When I play these parts, they’re not me,” he says. “I’m not tortured and neurasthenic—I’m really not.”

I am so looking forward to this film. I think Whishaw will be excellent! If anyone wants to read the article in full (and get a little more idea of him as an actor) I've posted it below:


Revisiting Brideshead
British hotshot Ben Whishaw takes on aristo Sebastian Flyte in the latest screen version of Brideshead Revisited.
By Susan Welsh
Photograph by Ronald Dick
August 2008

Ben Whishaw was only a year old when Anthony Andrews had fans swooning over his portrayal of floppy-haired, teddy bear–toting aristocrat Sebastian Flyte in the 1981 TV miniseries Brideshead Revisited. Television adaptations of great English novels have long enraptured American audiences, though none have ignited Anglomania as did that reworking of Evelyn Waugh’s 1945 classic, set among the fading aristocracy. To those who saw the series, it’s so iconic that the idea of a new big-screen version seems almost impertinent. But Whishaw, who plays the beautiful, doomed Sebastian Flyte in the film, was undaunted by the series’ long shadow. “I didn’t watch it, and to be honest, I haven’t even properly heard about it,” says Whishaw, 27, who, since playing a teenage Hamlet at London’s Old Vic four years ago, has become one of the UK’s most promising young actors.

Looking at him now, as he sits in a café down the street from his North London flat­—his green eyes intense, almost glowing and his frame whip-thin­—you can see why he’s become the go-to actor for the Brooding Romantic. He’s played a scent-obsessed serial killer in Perfume and a Bob Dylan–Arthur Rimbaud hybrid in Todd Haynes’s and next year he will appear as poet John Keats in Jane Campion’s biopic “He has this extraordinary sensitivity—sort of one skin less than most people around him,” says Trevor Nunn, who directed him in Hamlet. “When Hamlet at the beginning says, ‘Seems! I know not seems,’ it was just astonishing, because there was no seeming. This was the real thing! He was in terrible, terrible distress.”

For the role of Sebastian, Whishaw drew on the novel and on a biography of Waugh. His Sebastian, struggling against his family’s ingrained Catholicism, has an affecting fragility that jibes with Waugh’s exploration of the suffering that religion both addresses and inflicts. The actor was also inspired by a comment made by former Smiths frontman Morrissey, about growing up Catholic. “He said something like, ‘They get you young, and they sear you,’” Whishaw says, his eyes narrowing for emphasis. “Sebastian knows what his nature is and believes he’s going to hell. I wanted to convey that conflict inside him.”

The film, opening in August with an A-list cast that includes Emma Thompson and Michael Gambon, aims to speak to a new generation, in part by portraying Sebastian as unquestionably gay. Waugh left Sebastian’s sexuality somewhat ambiguous, and purists may balk at the inclusion of a kiss between Sebastian and Charles Ryder, his school chum and the story’s narrator (played by Matthew Goode). “The kiss was quite a bone of contention,” says Whishaw of discussions on the set. “But Waugh said as much as he could at the time he was writing [the novel], and it seems fairly clear-cut. He’s a gay character.” In lesser hands, says the film’s director, Julian Jarrold, “Sebastian could end up just being a spoiled brat, but Ben makes him human. He has an otherwordly air about him—something quite delicate and vulnerable.”

In person, Whishaw exhibits little of Sebastian’s lilting voice and fey mannerisms. And though expansive about his characters, he remains tight-lipped about himself. Only reluctantly does he divulge that he has a twin brother (fraternal), that his mother sells cosmetics in a department store and that his father “does something to do with computers.” Whishaw began performing in a local youth theater troupe before landing a coveted spot at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and the career-sparking role of Hamlet. But talk-show appearances and life as a celebrity leave him cold. “I find it weird that people want to know about you,” he says.

These days he’s busy filming Bright Star in London and Hertfordshire, not far from where he grew up. Playing the frail genius Keats “has blown my mind,” he says. “His poetry has been a revelation.” Working with Campion has likewise altered him: “She always tells me, ‘Let the divine come into you,’ which is what Keats did.” Could it be that Whishaw is channeling the Brooding Romantic within? “When I play these parts, they’re not me,” he says. “I’m not tortured and neurasthenic—I’m really not.”
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Re: Keats The Movie - the news we've all been waiting for....

Postby Malia » Thu Jan 15, 2009 6:46 am

Another Interview. . .

Yes, I am more than slightly intrigued by Ben Whishaw. With each passing interview I feel more confident that he will be a fantastic Keats. And, after what I've seen of his previous work to date, I think he will be one of the best British actors of his generation. Keats said once that the poet is the most unpoetical creature in existence because he is constantly filling and informing some other body--he has no self because he lives completely within the art he creates. This seems to be the case with Whishaw as an actor--a very Keatsian artist he is! ;)

Here's a section of the article that speaks most about Whishaw as Keats:
****

For Whishaw himself, work is where he is at his most serious. That said, he is insistent that he doesn't have a game plan. 'Whatever blows in,' he shrugs. 'I don't have any ambition to make lots of money or win an Oscar or anything like that. It's not about that for me. I'm very lucky to have found the thing that makes me tick.

'There are certainly other things I'd like to have a go at one day,' he continues. 'I'd like to have a go at directing. Or maybe I'll go back to painting. Or maybe thinking about those things is just my way of protecting myself if it all goes wrong.'

For the time being, though, he is not looking forward or back, focusing instead on the man of the moment, Keats. 'It's such a gift being able to step into the mind of someone like him,' he says. 'There's something incredibly satisfying about wanting to be someone else so badly and having to get myself there as best I can.'

According to Jane Campion, Whishaw was almost there before he even got the part. 'He had sent me an email about the script before we met that really touched me,' she remembers. 'And then, when he came to do a reading, I opened the door and there was this beautiful, fragile boy; he had that magical quality that people who have written about Keats say he had. He read from the script and instantly made me believe that he was capable of writing that poetry and loving that much.'

The story of Keats and Fanny Brawne is ultimately a tragic one; they were parted by Keats's untimely death from TB at the age of 25. 'I can bear to die,' he wrote to a friend, 'but I cannot bear to leave her.' Despite going on to marry and have children, Brawne never forgot her first love, whose ring she wore around her neck for the rest of her life.

'Keats himself spoke about how Shakespeare was capable of erasing himself completely from the characters he had created,' Whishaw says. 'As an actor, that is what I'm trying to do. The idea is that, at some point, Ben will go completely and Keats will be there in his place.'
****
If you want to read the entire article, go here:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvan ... stery.html
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