My favorite novel of all time, Jane Eyre, was tailor-made for cinematic adaptation, despite being written in an era when such art-forms were undreamt of. A rebellious orphan, cruelly ostracized, she makes her way in the world as a governess, and goes to work for a seemingly hard-hearted man of considerable wealth and not a few secrets. But the best part of the story, for me, is when Jane, overwhelmed by her situation, decides to venture into the wilderness, alone. With little more than the clothes on her back, she becomes one with the landscape, until ultimately her solitude and hardship lead her to make a life-changing decision. Now if that’s not a Vision Quest, what is?
In 2011, there will be a new cinematic version of Jane Eyre, based on this popular and well-loved novel by Charlotte Bronte.
There have been many filmed versions of this story, of course. The most recent is a Masterpiece Theatre mini-series shown in 2006. Franco Zeffirelli’s 1996 version starred Charlotte Gainsbourg as Jane and William Hurt as Rochester. Strange to have a Jane with a French accent, but it was wonderful nonetheless. I confess, my favorite version was the 1970 made for TV version starring Susannah York and George C. Scott: a triumph of casting with two stunning performances.
The 2011 version will be scripted by Moira Buffini (the writer for Tamara Drewe), and directed by Cary Fukunaga whose film Sin Nombre was among my favorite films of 2009). Mia Wasikowska (the daughter in The Kids are All Right) will play Jane; Rochester will be played by Michael Fassbender (who I loved in this year’s historical drama Centurion). Imogen Poots (who also starred in Centurion) will play Blanche, and as Mrs. Fairfax, none other than the legendary Dame Judi Dench. It looks as thought this version may even delve into the story if Jane’s relationship with St. John, a character often ignored in filmed versions of the story for some reason.
The just-released trailer is delightfully gothic and spooky, right down to a snippet of music that will be faminilar to those who have seen Dario Argento’s Suspiria.
Some very exciting and intriguing films will be making their way to theatres in the next calendar year. I think these may well be of interest to pagan-minded folks, just as Jane Eyre is. I’ll be looking more closely at these new films in a series over the next few weeks.