There are few movie stars of the classic era who continue to captivate — perhaps for more salacious reasons — than Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Their relationship was tabloid fodder at the time, and since then, people have continued to be fascinated by their on-screen pairings and their off-screen ups and downs, which included being married twice in less than two years. Last year, we saw what a cheapie version of this story looks like with the Lindsay Lohan and Grant Bowler-starring “Liz & Dick,” and while we wait to see what Paramount does with the rights to Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger‘s book “Furious Love,” across the pond the tale is being tackled.
Dominic West (McNulty!) and Helena Bonham Carter will take the titular leads in “Burton & Taylor” for BBC Four, but it will focus on a rather interesting footnote in the Burton/Taylor saga. The 90-minute film will center around the two stars and their appearance on stage together in the Broadway production of Noel Coward‘s “Private Lives” in 1983. A New York magazine article of the time breaks down what was going on behind the scenes, but mostly it was a production that thrust Burton and Taylor back into the spotlight, and while the play was a grand success and brought the pair massive press coverage, it was critically slammed.
Meanwhile, Burton’s own diaries paint a darker picture, with actor writing that Taylor was often drunk, but he stayed committed to his former flame. The actor’s widow told The Telegraph, “He was exasperated by Elizabeth but he kept on going, because he was a professional and because he was committed to it.”
William Ivory (“Made In Dagenham“) penned the script and Richard Laxton (the upcoming “Effie” with Dakota Fanning) will direct. So mark this down as a curiosity for us, but it can’t be any worse than “Liz & Dick”….can it? [Deadline]