New Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton movie coming to the BBC
Reasons the BBC’s upcoming TV movie about one of Hollywood’s most famous couples will be different from Lifetime’s infamous 2012 film based on the very same pair:
1. This one is called Burton and Taylor, not Liz & Dick. (Surnames are classier.)
2. It stars The Wire‘sDominic West and Academy Award nominee Helena Bonham Carter in the title roles — rather than New Zealand-born actor Grant Bowler and certified train wreck Lindsay Lohan.
According to an announcement made by the British network yesterday, the 90-minute telefilm will focus on Burton and Taylor’s experiences starring opposite one another in a 1983 Broadway revival of Noel Coward’s Private Lives. A contemporaneous account in New York Magazine reveals thatthe production, in which the real-life ex-lovers played a pair of fictional ex-lovers, was fraught indeed — it came seven years after the couple had divorced for the second time, while Burton was in declining health and desperate need of a job. Critics had savaged the play’s out of town tryout in Boston; they’d eventually do the same in New York, labeling it nothing but a “calculated business venture.”
Burton and Taylor, directed by Richard Laxton (Him & Her) from a screenplay by William Ivory (Women in Love), will play on BBC Four, though a specific air date has not yet been given. It’s unclear whether it will come to this side of the pond as well — but given the material, a stateside airing seems as likely as Bonham Carter following up the film with a Tim Burton movie.