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Andrea Arnold Casts James Howson As Cinema’s First Black Heathcliff In ‘Wuthering Heights’

Andrea Arnold Casts James Howson As Cinema's First Black Heathcliff In 'Wuthering Heights'

For her follow-up to the excellent “Fish Tank,” director Andrea Arnold has done a great job at keeping her forthcoming adaptation of “Wuthering Heights” under a veil of secrecy. With filming wrapped last week, it was still a mystery as to who landed the lead role of Heathcliff of the film but as the film heads into post-production, we now have a face and a name.

The Daily Mail (via Bleeding Cool) reports that the previously unknown James Howson has landed the part, making him the first black actor to portray Heathcliff on screen.

Arnold held opening casting calls as early as February of this year looking for a leading man who was 16-24 years old, from Yorkshire, of Gypsy appearance and not necessarily experienced, and plucked the actor from obscurity. And if he brings anything like the freshness Katie Jarvis did for “Fish Tank,” we certainly have something very special to look forward to.

Howson is in his early twenties and his the young age of the character is one the filmmakers were looking to nail and something that previous adaptations have missed. One source told the Daily Mail, “Previous versions have had people in their mid-30s running up and down the moors and that is not what the novel is about at all. This is all about going back to basics.”

The project is based on a script by Olivia Hetreed (”Girl with a Pearl Earring”) and has seen a revolving door of talent attached or linked including directors Peter Webber and John Maybury along with thesps Michael Fassbender, Natalie Portman, Abbie Cornish, Ed Westwick and Gemma Arterton. But no sense dwelling on what could have been. Arnold is a strong talent and we’re looking forward to her take on the material with a young cast that also includes Kaya Scodelario (”Skins”) as Cathy and Nichola Burley as the third lead.

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