Entertainment Weekly has confirmed a Deadline report that Paramount has optioned Furious Love, Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger’s recent book about the torrid and tempestuous romance of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, as a potential directorial project for Martin Scorsese. This is a biopic where casting is everything. While it would nearly be impossible for the starring couple to equal the celebrity of Liz and Richard, they’ll need to be famous enough themselves to convey the magnitude of their onscreen counterparts. Thus, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are logical suggestions, especially since Jolie is preparing to play the Taylor role in a remake of the infamous Cleopatra, where the couple, then married to other people, first sparked an interest in each other. But Cleopatra remake and previous famous marriages aside, I don’t think Brangelina are the best fit. Even in the period costumes and 1960’s hair, I wouldn’t see them as Liz and Dick; I’d see Brad and Angie.
For Burton, I can’t get Clive Owen out of my head. Part of it is the not insignificant resemblance, but the other part is the NSFW scene in Closer where he lashes out at Julia Roberts’ cheating wife. Russell Crowe, Colin Farrell, or Daniel Craig wouldn’t be bad choices either. For Taylor, Catherine Zeta-Jones was once rumored to have a bead on the part when Mike Nichols was rumored to be interested in the project, but Jennifer Connelly gets my vote. There’s something about her specific beauty that conjures up Taylor’s sensual elegance. Maybe it’s the eyes. Scarlett Johansson would be another solid possibility.
Who would you most like to see as the passionate couple? Will the actors need to have some history with each other to capture the sparks of Taylor and Burton, or can two actors who’ve never worked together deliver a believable romance for the ages?