Alright, alright. I am forced to comment on this. A recent book (which is on my list, but I haven’t read it yet) entitled Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century, chronicles the story of, well, the marriage of the century. Taylor and Burton were both huge stars, and the ups and downs of their relationship would put just about any tabloid celebrity today to shame. And of course, now there’s talk of a movie, with appropriately huge names being rumored to star. In contention, supposedly, for La Liz, are Angelina Jolie and Catherine Zeta-Jones. My take? Advantage, CZJ. And for Burton? Three names: Clive Owen, Colin Farrell, and Russell Crowe.
Ahem. I know what you’re thinking, and I have no real references to vouch for my ability to keep biases in check, so I’m not going to dissuade anyone here, probably. However, I think that Crowe is a simply brilliant idea for Burton. There are no other current big-name actors who would match the physicality (Burton and Crowe were/are both shortish and stocky, rugger-types) and intensity that exemplified Burton. I do say this having not yet seen any of Burton’s films, but that will be rectified shortly. There’s one problem, though, and it’s not necessarily a small one. Russell Crowe is 45 years old, people. Make-up is good these days, but I guess I wonder about the extent to which they will want someone younger to portray Burton in his heydey. In Crowe’s favor are the facts that Burton lived extremely hard, and died when he was only 58. But still. Even I have to admit that the age factor is a bit problematic. Which is really too bad, because again, I think it’s a tremendous notion.
As far as I can tell, all of the talk surrounding this project is in extremely early stages. It’ll be interesting to see what happens, but somehow … I don’t have a lot of optimism. The other two notions, Clive Owen and Colin Farrell, are not, IMO, good options. I really like both of them as actors, but I tend to hope for at least a little accuracy in matters of casting, and I don’t see either of them as a good fit for the look/feel of Mr. Burton.