Once upon a time it was Keira Knightley who was to sing about rain, Spain, and plains as Eliza Doolittle in the upcoming remake of classic musical My Fair Lady, but that destiny crumbled. Then Carey Mulligan, a newly appointed critical darling thanks to her splendid turn in An Education, was rumored to be in talks for the role. She dismissed such rumors, lamenting, “It would be lovely, but no.” But Mulligan and I are not the only ones who think such casting would be lovely, as scribe Emma Thompson confided to BBC, “I think Carey is set to play it, yes.”
Hear more of what Thompson had to say, including her speculation on whether Hugh Grant will play male lead Henry Higgins.
Screenwriters aren’t exactly tops on the Hollywood totem pole, so it’s possible that Thompson could be furthering misinformation without intimate knowledge of the thoughts of the studio and director John Madden. But I was as enchanted as everyone else by Mulligan’s Oscar-nominated role in An Education, so I’ll hope Thompson speaks the truth. She’s also Emma Thompson so she’s probably more in the loop than other, lesser-known screenwriters.
On the crucial–yet still undecided–casting of Henry Higgins, Thompson pondered,
“We still don’t know about [Henry] Higgins. I love Hugh so I’d love him to do it, he might want to, he might not want to, so we don’t know yet. But hopefully we’ll make it later this year.”
Depending on whether or not you fall for Hugh Grant’s aw-shucks affability (I mostly do), My Fair Lady could outwit the general consensus on remakes (in a word, “Stop!”).
Pygmalion is a 1913 George Bernard Shaw play that recounts the transformation of a filthy Cockney flower girl into a member of society’s upper crust. It has been adapted for the screen a number of times, most notably in 1999 as She’s All That in 1964 as My Fair Lady; Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison assumed the roles of Eliza and Henry in the George Cukor film. Below, check out a clip of my favorite number from the musical, “On the Street Where You Live”.