For a while there last year, it looked like Emma Thompson‘s script for the film “Effie” was never going to reach production. The film is based on the true love affair between Victorian artist, architect, poet and political thinker John Ruskin and his wife, Effie Gray, and the mysterious circumstances over why their marriage was never consummated, leaving Effie a virgin until she remarried Ruskin’s protege, painter John Everett Millais. While Thompson assuredly has her own take as to why Ruskin suddenly became disgusted with his wife, playwright Gregory Murphy felt Thompson’s script was too close to his 1999 play “The Countess,” and sued for copyright infringement in February of last year. The end result was a delay in production, with Saoirse Ronan ultimately departing the project and being replaced by Dakota Fanning prior to a fall start.
First look photos of the film have finally arrived online, though they mostly show Fanning in various forms of Victorian dress. Not shown in the photos is Thompson’s husband Greg Wise as Ruskin, or Tom Sturridge as Millais, though Thompson is revealed as Lady Eastlake, the art historian and critic who was one of Effie’s confidantes.
“Effie” was directed by Richard Laxton (“An Englishman In New York“), and the Victorian setting and intriguing story seem right up Thompson’s alley, considering her past work on “Sense and Sensibility.” It’ll also be good to see Fanning in something other than a “Twilight” movie. We anticipate that more of “Effie” will be revealed soon…a Venice Film Festival premiere perhaps? [Kinopoisk]