John Malkovich is replacing Ralph Fiennes as the lead in Disgrace, the big-screen adaptation of J.M. Coetzee's Booker Prize-winning novel. He wil play a professor of romantic poetry who is driven into exile after having an affair with one of his students. He moves in with his daughter, but the pair soon become victims of a violent attack. The screenplay has been approved by Coetzee, and filming will begin later this fall.

is Coetzee's first book to deal explicitly with post-apartheid South Africa, and it's a bleak and searing tale. i can see why the filmmakers wanted Fiennes for the character of David Lurie; the professor is supposed to have Byronic good looks and a strong sexual appetite. But he is also a somewhat broken-down figure; he teaches communications at the Technical University, where his real subject, modern languages, has been thrown out as a part of a nationwide rationalization of educational resources. Malkovich, I'm sure, will capture and exude much of the despair of the character, as well as the chilling and spare atmosphere of the novel. Despite his recent comic turn in Art School Confidential, I always think of him as the Valmont character in Dangerous Liasons-- sort of smart, sleazy, elegant, and vicious all at once.
categories Cinematical