“Ohhh Rochester…” Another Fassbender Post

Normal
0

false
false
false

MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) }

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-ansi-language:#0400;
mso-fareast-language:#0400;
mso-bidi-language:#0400;}

I like my books a little hard boiled, a little rough around the edges, if you will, but if I have to read a ‘romance novel’, I prefer the classics. 

Normal
0

false
false
false

MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-ansi-language:#0400;
mso-fareast-language:#0400;
mso-bidi-language:#0400;}

I tend to gravitate toward what are known as ‘Byronic heroes’ like  Captain Wentworth in “Persuasion” by Jane Austen, Heathcliff from Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights”,  Dorian Gray from “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde, and Steerforth from Charles Dickens’ “David Copperfield.” And then, of course, there is Edward Rochester from Charlotte Bronte’s  Jane Eyre”

“Jane Eyre” has been filmed many, many times (the first dates back to 1910) and unlike some other translations of novel to screen, there have been many excellent adaptations, including but not limited to Robert Stevenson’s film from 1943 with Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine as well as Franco Zefferelli’s 1996 version featuring William Hurt and the underrated Charlotte Gainsbourg. Anna Pacquin played the young Jane.

When I heard that there was to be yet another cinematic retelling of this classic novel, my first reaction was to wonder whether or not we really needed one.  We just had the PBS/BBC co-production in 2006 with the great Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson (“Luther”). And after the last one that I saw, 1997’s BBC adaptation starring Ciaran Hinds as Rochester and Samantha Morton as Jane, (which in turn followed closely on the heels of the Zefferelli film)  I thought ,“That’s it. Hinds is the definitive Rochester. I’m done, show me no more.”

…and then Cary Fukunaga had to go and cast Michael Fassbender. Oh my sweet hell…

 

Moviefone exclusive clip:

If this scene is indicative of the rest of the movie, then the film will be absolutely pitch perfect. Watch it again…notice the way that they inch toward each other…

 (Actual conversation between me and one of my besties:

KB: How did she pull away???? She’s a better woman than me…

 Me: I don’t know. I mean, I know it’s acting, but still! A will of iron!

 KB: You MUST lean toward the screen, hoping to get to his mouth

 Me: Or at least hoping Jane will…     I think part of it is that Fassbender doesn’t appear to be that much "larger" than Jane and then there’s that voice. You don’t expect that voice…

 KB: No you don’t, but WE knew it was there…)

This is the hottest piece of celluloid that I have seen in a LOOOOOONG time. I can’t stop watching it. And every time I do, I sit here with my mouth agape and my chest heaving with the effort to resume the breath caught in my throat, a hot tickle in my stomach…

TMI? Or the ultimate compliment to the palpable sexual allure of Michael Fassbender, an allure that has heretofore not so much remained hidden, but severely underutilized.

Sure, those of us who are followers of Mr. Fassbender’s work have seen it. We saw it in doomed Esme1, in (again doomed) young Stelios2, in Lt. Archie Hickox3,  (What is it with the dying?) There were hints in Connor in Andrea Arnold’s brilliant Fishtank, but while brimming with sexual magnetism, he was at the very least a cad, at worst a predator. It was there in Azazeal from “Hex”, but he was, you know, Satan. (Byronic heroes are supposed to be, like Byron himself “mad, bad and dangerous to know”4, but that’s taking things to an extreme.)  

I submit the closest we’ve gotten, to this point, was Thomas Rainsborough in 2008’s mini-series “The Devil’s Whore.” (If in doubt, watch episode 4. It’s on youtube,) but Fassbender fans have never seen him play a romantic hero like this.

We have been waiting for a role like Edward Rochester. 

Rochester is stern and not particularly handsome, but he and Jane are kindred spirits. He is the first person in the novel to offer Jane lasting love and a real home. Although he is Jane’s social and economic superior, (men were widely considered to be naturally superior to women in the Victorian period) Jane is Rochester’s intellectual equal and moral superior. He is a true ‘Byronic hero’.

 

The Byronic hero typically exhibits several of the following traits:

  • Arrogance
  • intelligence and perception
  • cunning and adaptability
  • suffering from an unnamed crime
  • a troubled past
  • sophisticated and educated
  • self-critical and introspective
  • mysterious, magnetic and charismatic
  • struggles with integrity
  • possesses the power of seduction and sexual attraction
  • exhibits social and sexual dominance
  • emotionally conflicted, moody, perhaps even bi-polar
  • a distaste for social institutions and norms
  • is an exile, an outcast, or an outlaw
  • disrespect of rank and privilege
  • jaded, world-weary
  • cynicism
  • self-destructive behavior

Three of my favorite actors, Gerard Butler, Tom Hardy and yes, Michael Fassbender can tick off a great many traits on this list, which is undoubtedly part of why I’m drawn to them.  In a bit of verisimilitude, Hardy has played Heathcliffe. Butler, the titular role in The Phantom of the Opera, (which although it’s not my favorite among the characters that he has played, it does fit the bill to a tee.) Now Fassbender has Rochester. 

Jane Eyre would seem to be an odd choice for wunderkind Cary Fukunaga’s second feature film. His first, 2009’s Sin Nombre, was nominated for and won numerous festival and critics association awards, but nothing about it suggests that its director was ready to deliver a fresh, sexy, nuanced take on a classic of Victorian ‘chick-lit.’

Based on a trailer and two clips, Australian actress Mia Wasikowska looks to become the definitive Jane Eyre. Physically she’s perfect; frail and small one moment, but hinting at an inner strength. Plain enough to appear ordinary and then beautiful with the transforming power of love. She may have a difficult name, but she is one of a crop of current ‘IT girls’, and an extremely talented one. Since appearing as Alice in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, she’s played one of Annette Bening and Julianne Moore’s kids in The Kids Are Alright and in addition to Jane Eyre, she has two other completed films due for release in 2011 and is currently filming The Wettest County in the World with Tom Hardy.

As for Michael Fassbender, I’ve talked about him a lot on this blog. (Hit his tag on the left and the posts will come up.) He is already “obsessed over by cool people”5, and I’d like to think I can count myself in that number. His Rochester will become just another arrow in his artistic quiver. It may not even be the most interesting performance we see from him this year, since he’s already got Carl Jung (David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method) and Magneto under his belt.

Jane Eyre is released in the US on 11 March 2011.

Official site: trailers.apple.com/trailers/focus_features/janeeyre/

(trailer and clips can be found here)

ivillage exclusive clip: www.ivillage.com/exclusive-clip-jane-eyre/1-h-321698

1.       Francoise Ozon’s Angel, 2007

2.      Zack Snyder’s 300, 2007

3.      Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, 2009

4.      Lady Caroline Lamb

5.      Nathaniel Rogers, TheFilmExperience.net 10 February 2011

******************************************

Speaking of Magneto…

I never saw any of the other X-Men films, although I tried to watch the Hugh Jackman prequel Wolverine (operative word being "tried"). I’ll see X-Men:First Class for two reasons 1. Matthew Vaughn, director of Layer Cake, Stardust and Kick-Ass. We love Matthew Vaughn  and 2. Michael Fassbender.  "Peace was never an option."  *shudder…thud*

Here’s the trailer along with commentary by Fassbender and MTV’s Josh Horowitz


*************************************

In other news, it has been confirmed that The Weinstein Co. has indeed purchased the US distribution rights for Ralph Fiennes’ Coriolanus! As I’ve already postulated, this really bodes well for the film’s prospects.

Advertisements

2 responses to ““Ohhh Rochester…” Another Fassbender Post

  1. I refuse to be moved by this new version of Jane Eyre. Toby Stephens IS my Rochester.

    That being said… Damn, Fassbender is fine. How the hell was I so late to the party?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s