Sunday, February 11, 2007

New Film on Queen Victoria's Early Life in the Works

Martin Scorsese has announced plans to produce a film based on the early life of Queen Victoria. Scorsese will team up with producers Graham King and Tim Headington; Oscar-winning screenwriter Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park, Vanity Fair) will pen the script. Jean-Marc Vallée is slated to direct.

Reports say the story will focus on the turbulent early years of Victoria's reign after she ascended to the throne in 1837, aged 18, and her storied romance and marriage to Prince Albert. The idea for the film, tentatively titled The Young Victoria, apparently came from Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, whose former mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II, is Queen Victoria's great-great granddaughter.

Says Graham King: "We all think we know Queen Victoria from the latter part of her life, but in fact she was an amazing, dynamic, romantic personality from a very early age that is largely unknown. I had been searching for a British project for many years so I am just thrilled to bring her story to life."

"Largely unknown"? Perhaps. I thought the lavishly produced 2001 BBC television drama Victoria and Albert did a good job of capturing the queen's high spirits as a young woman before and during her marriage. It certainly had an excellent ensemble cast, including Victoria Hamilton and Jonathan (stop-calling-me-the-younger-brother-of-Colin) Firth as the royal pair and the wonderful Diana Rigg as Baroness Lehzen. Not to mention Peter Ustinov, Nigel Hawthorne, and David Suchet...

We can only hope that the historical consultants for this film (Mr. Scorsese: call me, I'm available) will make fewer errors of fact (or win more arguments on set) than those who worked on John Madden's Mrs. Brown. For a list of the howlers in that movie, read Miriam Burstein's extensive compilation (scroll down a bit).

The big question: which young It-actress of the moment will score the title role?

For details: Variety

The photo here shows a marble bust of the young Victoria by Sir Francis Leggatt Chantrey (1839).


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