Paramount Options Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton Story FURIOUS LOVE for Martin Scorsese

     June 1, 2011

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Paramount is finalizing an option deal to develop a feature based on Furious Love, an account of the public love affair of Hollywood royalty Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.  According to Deadline, the studio is pursuing the project as a possible directing vehicle for Martin Scorsese.  Paramount reportedly beat out several other suitors, including Natalie Portman and The King’s Speech writer David Seidler, to secure the rights to the book by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger.

Scorsese is in post-production on Hugo Cabret for the November 23 release.  The director has collected a number of potential follow-ups: including the hitman drama The Irishman, a Frank Sinatra biopic, and the period adaptation Silence.  The story of Taylor and Burton certainly has plenty to offer a man who loves Old Hollywood.  Both were married when they met on the set of Cleopatra in 1960 and began the romance.  The affair incited endless public scrutiny and swarms of paparazzi for the next decade and a half.  Burton and Taylor eventually married in 1964, divorced in 1974, remarried in 1975, and separated for good in 1976.  Read the official synopsis for Furious Love after the jump.

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He was a tough-guy Welshman softened by the affections of a breathtakingly beautiful woman; she was a modern-day Cleopatra madly in love with her own Mark Antony. For nearly a quarter of a century, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were Hollywood royalty, and their fiery romance—often called “the marriage of the century”—was the most notorious, publicized, and celebrated love affair of its day.

For the first time, Vanity Fair contributing editor Sam Kashner and acclaimed biographer Nancy Schoenberger tell the complete story of this larger-than-life couple, showing how their romance and two marriages commanded the attention of the world. Also for the first time, in exclusive access given to the authors, Elizabeth Taylor herself gives never-revealed details and firsthand accounts of her life with Burton.

Drawing upon brand-new information and interviews—and on Burton’s private, passionate, and heartbreaking letters to Taylor—Furious Love sheds new light on the movies, the sex, the scandal, the fame, the brawls, the booze, the bitter separations, and, of course, the fabled jewels. It offers an intimate glimpse into Elizabeth and Richard’s privileged world and their elite circle of friends, among them Princess Grace, Montgomery Clift, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Peter O’Toole, Michael Caine, Marlon Brando, Rex Harrison, Mike Nichols, Laurence Olivier, Robert Kennedy, Tennessee Williams, Noel Coward, John Huston, Ava Gardner, the Rothschilds, Maria Callas, and Aristotle Onassis. It provides an entertaining, eye-opening look at their films, their wildly lucrative reign in Europe and in Hollywood—and the price they paid for their extravagant lives. [Amazon]

Leonardo DiCaprio resembles Richard Burton more than he ever did Howard Hughes, so don’t be surprised if DiCaprio and Scorsese reunite for a fifth collaboration.  But good lord, who could possibly pass for Taylor?  Rachel Weisz is probably too old to play the Cleopatra days (Taylor was 28 at the start of filming).  Ginnifer Goodwin, maybe?  I don’t know, man.

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