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Columbia Pictures to Remake "My Fair Lady"

Posted on Friday, June 13th, 2008 3:29 PM by Scott Jentsch

Columbia Pictures announced earlier this month that they are going to remake the 1964 movie My Fair Lady, which starred Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn. The movie won 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor, and is considered one of the classic musicals in motion picture history.

Both Harrison and Hepburn absolutely nailed their performances, and the number of Oscar statues that it took home shows that the movie was done right the first time. So why would anyone want to remake it?

The president of Columbia Pictures, Doug Belgrad, is quoted as saying:

"My Fair Lady is not just the quintessential stage musical and classic film, but a fantastic story. We're thrilled to have the opportunity to bring it to the screen once again. There is no one alive who knows this material better than Cameron Mackintosh; he has staged two revivals of My Fair Lady, the first in 1979 directed by Alan Jay Lerner himself, and the second the award-winning adaptation that's now touring the United States. He and Duncan Kenworthy have already set out on the long journey of bringing a new version to the screen and we feel very lucky to be a part of it. This update will preserve the magic of the musical while fleshing out the characters and bringing 1912 London to life in an authentic and exciting way for contemporary audiences."

That, and Hollywood studios love remakes. Absolutely love them. Our Featured Movie Critic even takes a swipe at the studios in his article Film as Product. It's quite possible that this will be like many other projects and never make it past the planning stages, but you don't usually see press releases about movies that aren't going to get through the approval process.

Assuming that it does make it, who should play the lead roles?

If I were in charge of casting, my first choice for Professor Henry Higgins would be Hugh Jackman. He's able to pull off the period roles, as he proved in The Prestige, and he can handle the singing easily based on his performance in the stage musical Oklahoma.

Now, for Eliza Doolittle. That's a little tougher. It would have to be someone with reserved beauty that could be squelched for the first part of the movie and brought out in the second. But also someone with the acting and singing chops to handle the role... My choice would be Anne Hathaway. According to her biography on the IMDb, she was a top-ranked soprano and she was offered the role of Christine in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera that went to Emmy Rossum.

What do you think? Who could pull these roles off and not embarrass themselves on-screen? Since I don't have comments working on Journal articles just yet, you'll have to use the Feedback Form if you want to share your thoughts. If I get some good mail about it, I'll post a follow up to this one!



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