We’ve all been burned by the U.K. press/tabloids before, particularly with the still-in-development “My Fair Lady” project that seems trouble finding a director.
This spring Danny Boyle was rumored to be circling the project, and this fall a supposedly reputable U.K. source (The London Telegraph) made up a story (or got their intel totally wrong) that Joe Wright was getting ready to film the project with Scarlett Johansson and while we fell for it initially, we quickly called shenanigans on the report. So before we decided to write up this piece, fellow Playlister Simon Dang did a quick check on the reporter to make sure he was legit and not just making stuff up. Baz Bamingboye has previously been sharp, having reported on Gemma Arteton’s casting in “Tamara Drewe” and Andrea Riseborough replacing Carey Mulligan in “Brighton Rock” before the trades did, so we’re going to run with it (plus the writer seemed to actually ask Day-Lewis about it).
In the midst of a rather long piece about “Nine,” Bamingboye reveals that Boyle was far enough into considering “My Fair Lady” that he even approached Daniel Day-Lewis to play the lead role of Henry Higgins:
Danny Boyle, who directed “Slumdog Millionaire,” wanted Day-Lewis to play Henry Higgins in the much talked about new “My Fair Lady” film, but Boyle left the project when he was not able to secure the actor’s services.
Day-Lewis is not keen to talk about it. ‘I feel that until this (“Nine”) has moved along, I can’t contemplate doing something else,’ he told me.
That’s interesting news to say the least. It means that Boyle had a very specific vision in mind for the film and without Lewis as Higgins it just wouldn’t work for him. Of course, we can understand Lewis turning the project down. For starters, he was probably already deep into production (and character) with “Nine” and it’s probably not an exaggeration for him to say he couldn’t have conceived about doing another film until that the books are closed on that one. Secondly, Lewis is the kind of actor who thrives on completely shifting gears with each project, and we don’t see him doing two musicals back to back.
Boyle has since moved on and is getting ready to enter pre-production on the survival tale, “127 Hours.” Depending on who you ask he either wants Ryan Gosling or Cillian Murphy for the lead role (though the latter is almost certainly just tabloid fodder) and frankly, both are great actors and we’d love to see either one of them snag it. That film is scheduled to begin shooting sometime in March and Fox Searchlight wants it ready for Oscar season in 2010.
“My Fair Lady” is back in development hell where it will probably stay until another high profile director and actor get involved. As for Lewis, he’ll finish up the press rounds for “Nine” and then go cobble shoes or do whatever he does in the gaps between films. But don’t be surprised if Boyle one day takes on another musical. Like Soderbergh, he’s omnivorous in his cinematic tastes and the musical is one genre that has eluded him thus far, but we’ll have to wait for now.