“Imagine if The Aviator had been 40 minutes shorter. It would have won every fucking Oscar last night. It was ironic that Thelma Schoonmaker got the Best Editor. She’s a brilliant editor, don’t get me wrong. But if she’d cut about 35 minutes from that film, it would be a masterpiece.” —John Maybury
John Maybury is crazy. He’s also quite the arrogant bastard, and he seems to hate everything that is a part of mainstream pop culture (for example, he refers to the Oscars as “that corporate event”). But that didn’t stop Ecosse Films from tapping him to direct Olivia Hetreed’s (Girl With a Pearl Earring) adaptation of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.
Maybury is known as an experimental filmmaker by those who have actually seen his films, most of which never got very far from the UK, from where Maybury hails. Mainstream America’s only real encounters with Maybury’s work came with the 2005 Adrien Brody/Keira Knightley vehicle The Jacket and the pair of episodes of Rome he directed.
Maybury’s vendetta against all things societally popular and his experimental tendencies might be the perfect thing for Wuthering Heights. While straight adaptations of period romances can work, we’ve reached the point where we’ve seen so many of them, Wuthering Heights in particular, that it’s become a little more difficult to impress us.
Of course, Wuthering Heights is in itself a completely different beast than something like Pride and Prejudice, considering its epic scale and downbeat tone, which is Maybury’s kind of material. We’ll see how it turns out; hopefully he can avoid a disaster similar to that of Michael Winterbottom’s take on Tristram Shandy.
Before he gets to this, Maybury will finish up work on The Edge of Love (formerly known as The Best Times of Our Lives), a romantic drama starring Keira Knightley, Cillian Murphy and Sienna Miller. He might also have to work around the MacBeth adaptation Come Like Shadows, which, as far as I can tell, he is still slated to direct.