My Fair Lady remake with Knightley
Keira Knightley is set to play Eliza Doolittle in a remake of My Fair Lady, the musical that originally starred the iconic Audrey Hepburn, herself taking over the role on film from Julie Andrews who had taken the stage role.
You can see why this project is going ahead with Knightley, and indeed it might be fair to think that the idea of Knightley taking the role came before the idea of the remake, however the issue isn't about the remake as such, but about what form the remake will take.
The musical film My Fair Lady was made in 1964 starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison, Harrison himself played opposite Julie Andrews on the stage show, and it remains a much watched classic today while the musical itself still enjoys a stage run.
Straight away there's the obvious comparison - Keira Knightley looks and can act very much as Audrey Hepburn did, and I'm sure that one of the first sentances in the conversation about a remake was "Hey, doesn't Keira Knightley look a lot like Audrey Hepburn? We could get her to do a remake of My Fair Lady!"...and so the idea was born.
Still, it is probably a good idea. The question is how the remake is going to go. So far we know from Variety that they are going to keep the original setting of 1912 - this is not only in respect to the original film, but it seems that they want to capture the feel of the play Pygmalion from George Bernard Shaw, which itself was the original inspiration for the musical.
So not only does Knightley fit the part of Hepburn so well, but she's been doing all these period costume drama type things of late...the formula is adding up.
The question remains though, is this going to be a musical? The story does say that the film will use the musical score, but does that mean it'll be a background score for the film, or will it be a true musical? Keira Knightley singing? Columbia co-President Doug Belgrad thinks so:
"This update will preserve the magic of the musical while fleshing out the characters and bringing 1912 London to life in an authentic and exciting way"
I guess the real question is can a 1912 costume musical work today? It is fair to say that the costume dramas haven't been working of late, and Knightley's career is pretty much running along that line. I'm thinking that they're going to have to do something pretty special to make this one work.