Once upon a time, Emily Bronte's book Wuthering Heights was my favorite book. Now it's everyone's favorite book. For someone who always said "Go back and read the classics because they're sexier!," it's both gratifying and mortifying to see it become embedded in Robert Pattinson and Twilight pop culture. Oh well. The dusty old readers probably said the same thing when Laurence Olivier cultified it, too.

I've never been able to watch a film adaptation -- not even Olivier's -- because none of them were dark, brutal, and Gothic enough for my taste. More specifically, none of them ever cast Heathcliff as anything other than a well-spoken and pale-skinned Englishman or Welshman. Bronte takes great pains to emphasize that Heathcliff is something foreign, with "swarthy" skin and dark hair, and his origin is just one of the reasons everyone (save Cathy) disdains him. No one knows exactly what he is, and their best guess is that he's a gypsy foundling. Naturally, there's a lot of racist hinting that his dubious ethnic background is the reason for his cruelty and madness. A sad sign of the times -- and any time, really.

Well, at least one filmmaker is going to try and buck that old trend. The London Times reports that Andrea Arnold is reaching out to Britain's Romany community in the hopes of casting an unknown actor to play Heathcliff. This has been a bit politically fraught, as would be expected, and they haven't yet found a young man to take the role. But they're trying, and that thrills me to no end. If they cast Heathcliff properly, and steer clear of the posh RADA types (who I certainly love for all other English Lit roles), this might be the first Wuthering Heights I will actually sit down and watch.
categories Movies, Cinematical