It’s only been a few months since Elizabeth Taylor’s death, but the biopic wheels are already turning.
According to Deadline, Martin Scorsese and Paramount have optioned Furious Love with an eye to adapting it for the big screen. Apparently, quite a few A-Listers have been vying for the rights, including Natalie Portman.
Furious Love isn’t a traditional fame-and-fortune biopic, though. The book deals solely with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s tempestuous and public love affair, and Taylor gave the authors access to their passionate correspondence, giving even more lusty fuel to the legend. It’s an incredible read, actually. I probably would have married Burton four times instead of just two, just for the pleasure of breaking and making up with him. (You can check out some excerpts on Vanity Fair.)
The book may be searing, but I’m skeptical of it’s adaptability. It comes alive so vividly on the page, and was centered around such two iconic actors that filming it with imitators would just water it down. I can’t think of a single actress who has the beauty and magnetism of Taylor. (I would say Angelina Jolie, but that’s a cop out, and she’s already committed to more Taylor mimicry with Cleopatra. ) Russell Crowe, James Purefoy and Gerard Butler all have the boozy, booming, glaring side of Burton, and Dougray “would love another shot” Scott still is his best resemblance, but they’re all pale imitations of the real thing.
This could just be an option that doesn’t come to be. They’re currently looking for a screenwriter, and it’s not clear whether the always-busy Scorsese is eying it as a director job. If it has to be made, I certainly hope he helms it (the dialogue alone — both of them could drop the f-bomb like you wouldn’t believe) , but even he has to realize this was a story bigger than a movie screen. Sometimes art can’t imitate life.