What the hell has gotten into Jessica Biel? First, she turns down the opportunity to play Wonder Woman in George Miller’s sure-to-be-monumental Justice League of America; now, she’s appearing in an Ealing Studios production of a Noel Coward play with a bunch of boring Brits like Ben Barnes and Colin Firth? Hey, standards are all well and good, but basically they’re for ugly people; someone as hot as Biel should not be wasted on material as erudite as Easy Virtue.
Oh, sure, Coward’s works are sublimely suggestive, but a body like Biel’s doesn’t suggest; it compels. And by "compel", I… well, you know. But she seems committed to this whole "respectability" racket (she just completed an Oscar Wilde movie with Annette Bening), so let’s resign ourselves to the fact that she’ll be playing an American divorcee who, whilst vacationing in the South of France, enters into an impulsive marriage with an Englishman (Barnes). Conflict rears its obligatory noggin when they visit the English lad’s parents (Firth and Kristin Scott Thomas), who severely disapprove of their frivolous arrangement.
Biel playing an American puts an different spin on the Coward play, as her character was originally British; ergo, the divorce was a more immediate scandal (especially given the 1920s setting). I suppose the change in nationality isn’t that big a deal; the major challenge for Biel, obviously, will be holding her own with Firth and Thomas (I don’t know what to make of Barnes just yet).
Easy Virtue will be directed by Stephan Elliott, who hasn’t exactly capitalized on the early 90s success of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. His last film was the forgettable Ewan McGregor/Ashley Judd thriller, Eye of the Beholder. Hopefully, taking the decade off has recharged his batteries.
Easy Virtue begins shooting next week in Lon-don.