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My Fair Lady: Mulligan vs. Knightley

My Fair Lady: Mulligan vs. Knightley

But can she sing?

That’s what I asked when Keira Knightley turned up in the first round of would-be Eliza Doolittles for Emma Thompson’s rewrite of Lerner & Loewe’s 1964 My Fair Lady, for which she is returning to the source material, George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion. (Ever see the wonderful Wendy Hiller/Leslie Howard Pygmalion?) Duncan Kenworthy (Love Actually) and London theater icon Cameron Mackintosh are producing. It turns out that Knightley, while not a trained singer, studied with a voice coach in order to sing in the 2008 UK release The Edge of Love.

I insist that especially today, a musical leading lady must sing the role herself. (Marne Nixon did the honors for stylish charmer Audrey Hepburn.) Broadway star Julie Andrews was robbed! Of course she went on to fame and fortune in The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins. But still.

So can Mulligan sing? She’s the latest candidate for the role, as Thompson has confirmed. But Mulligan herself doesn’t know the status of a deal. And she has a lot on her plate. With completed roles behind her in the Sundance drama The Greatest, which is finally opening April 2, Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps (pushed back to September 24) and Fox Searchlight’s fall film Never Let Me Go (also starring Knightley), Mulligan now has her pick of what to do next.

It’s a tad early for anyone to be seriously expecting casting on movies such as My Fair Lady and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which are still in development. But assuming you had to pick your My Fair Lady, who would it be?

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