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by Alison Willmore
September 26, 2012 10:27 AM
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Trading the Moors for Wine Country, Greg Berlanti to Modernize 'Wuthering Heights' For NBC

MTV's own modern day take on 'Wuthering Heights' aired in 2003
Television's quest to make a modern-day adaptation of everything in the public domain continues apace with a new update of "Wuthering Heights" being developed at NBC.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, "Everwood" creator Greg Berlanti (whose recent USA miniseries "Political Animals" ended last month) is working on a contemporization of Emily Brontë's 1847 novel about the ill-fated love between Catherine Earnshaw and the brooding Heathcliff. The hourlong drama, which will be written by Tom Donaghy ("The Whole Truth"), is called "Napa" and is set in California wine country, a slightly more welcoming environment than the moorland of the original. Berlanti and Donaghy will executive produce the potential series.

"Wuthering Heights" has been adapted to the big screen many times -- "Fish Tank" filmmaker Andrea Arnold's 2011 version, which for the first time casts a black actor, James Howson, in the role of Heathcliff, is getting a release October 5 from Oscilloscope Pictures. Tom Hardy and his now-fiancée Charlotte Riley played the doomed lovers in a two-part ITV adaptation that aired on PBS' "Masterpiece Classics" series in 2009. In 2003, MTV tried its own modern-day adaptation of the story in a TV movie that starred Erika Christensen, Mike Vogel, Christopher Masterson and Katherine Heigl.

While at first glance the idea of drawing out Heathcliff and Catherine's impossible romance over countless episodes sounds like it could be painful, isn't that the basis of all protracted television couplings? How long did it take Mulder and Scully? And they didn't even have a farmhouse and class issues to overcome.

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  • Mayble | October 3, 2012 10:42 PMReply

    I can’t believe that this book has been adapted to the screen so many times, and I haven’t heard of it until now. One of the girls I work with at DISH told me that she read half the book when she was in high school, but doesn’t remember a thing from the story. I will say that Annette Shadeya’s description has my curiosity piqued, so I think I may add the version with Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley to my Blockbuster @Home queue. I noticed they have several different versions, which isn’t surprising since their selection is always so massive. If Hardy and Riley are now engaged, I can only imagine the on-screen chemistry that they shared. I bet it made the story that much more intense!

  • Annette Shadeya | September 27, 2012 11:44 AMReply

    Why!!!! i have not watched a film adaptation of this book that has been up to standard. While i liked Fish Tank, Andrea's concept was of Wuthering Heights lacking, it felt out of depth.They all miss the point its a sad, twisted and intense book with an incredibly sad ending and heavy, complex, emotionally crude and evil characters, i wish they would stop trying to change that. Its poetic and grand, best Bronte book out there ... Maybe, its one of those things that can never be adapted into film or even worse commercial television.