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Feb 05 2016

Colette vs.Mary Magdalene

Here'sMurtadaspeculating very early on the 2017 Oscar race.

There's usually a real life person in the best actress lineup.It's not as prevalent as it is in best actor - 4 this year.But we do have Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence).Last year there were Jane Hawking (Felicity Jones) and Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon).Recently we got everyone from Philomena Lee (Judi Dench) to Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) and Edith Piaf (Marion Cotillard) and most famously The Queen (Helen Mirren) and her 80s nemesis Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep).Now we have two more possible candidates for the 2017 Oscar race as two interesting biopics were announced this week with two actresses well known to the Academy.French writer Colette (to be played by Keira Knightley) and Jesus disciple Mary Magdalene (Rooney Mara).

Colette in 1920s

Colette is the more intriguing figure,at least to this non-believer.Born in 1873 she was a journalist,an actress,a mime and of course most famously the writer of the novelGigiwhich became an Oscar winning film and a stage musical.Colette and her first husband Willy Gauthier-Villars,also a writer,were pivotal figures in the salons of the turn of the century Paris and collaborated on several novels.The rumour is that the writing was all Colette's - shades ofBig Eyes.Colette also had sexual and romantic relationships with women.And based on the people behind this film,we know they won't shy away from telling that story.

The film is written by Wash Westmoreland and the late Richard Glatzer (Quinceañera,Still Alice),with Westmoreland directing.It will be produced by Christine Vachon and Elizabeth Karlsen who most recently producedCarol.With lukewarm reviews for her Broadway debut inTherese Requinand a small forgettable part inEverestbeing her only 2015 credits,this looks like a juicy part that Knightley can sink her teeth into and possibly get her career back on the upturn it was on with 2014's double bill ofBegin AgainandThe Imitation Game.

While I'm not into religious movies,actresses are my religion and afterCarolI would follow Rooney Mara anywhere she wants to go.She's choosing to collaborate with Garth Davis (Top of the Lake) to tell the story of Mary Magdalene.The actress - director combo is exciting especially when it's noted that they have recently worked together onLion(2016) - with Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel.They must have really enjoyed working together to choose to do it again so soon.Wonder who will be cast as Jesus?It'll have to be someone fantastic if they are to replicate the explosive chemistry Mara had with herCarolco-star Cate Blanchett.This tweet says it best.

Who would you like to see play opposite Knightley and Mara as Gauthier-Villars and Jesus?

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Reader Comments (28)

I love this,Murtada!

February 5,2016 | Unregistered CommenterKyle

Cast Chiwetel as Jesus.Instantly the movie becomes more provocative and closer to the truth of its source material.

February 5,2016 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

Yeah,Colette is the winner.Read Judith Thurman's bio on her -- cray cray life she led.

February 5,2016 | Unregistered CommenterBia

3rtful - that's such a great idea!!

February 5,2016 | Unregistered CommenterCarlos

You'd think that after the Pan (2015) brouhaha,Rooney Mara would be a little cautious about accepting a role as a Middle Eastern woman.I know naysayers wish these debates would just go away,but if the #OscarsSoWhite situation has taught us anything—they're not.亚博主页

I mean,what is Exodus: Gods and Kings remembered for?

February 5,2016 | Unregistered CommenterHayden W.

Not really interested in another film about Jesus.

But when the Colette film comes out,I'm already there.Keira's one of my favourite actresses.

February 5,2016 | Unregistered CommenterRobMiles

When it comes to Colette,I hope they don't try to do her whole life,3 husbands,lovers of both sexes,2 world wars,she was 81 years old when she died.I hope they concentrate on the Belle Epoque section with her first husband,her first divorce and end somewhere around the 1920's.

Since her first husband was 14 years older than her,I am hoping for Guillaume Canet for the part of Willy who had such great chemistry with Keira in "Last Night".I think the project is a great fit for Knightley,and Westmoreland has been working on the script for awhile.

Think of the frocks and the hats!Such a delightful time period.

February 5,2016 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

Yesx2 to Hayden and 3rtful.I'll add though that since the movie is getting made,and unless they do make an interdicting casting choice such as Ejiofor,I would probably be most interested in a MM movie that did not have Jesus in it.I other words,it would just focus on her role as a disciple and preacher and her interactions with the other disciples.Now THAT would be interesting...( I fear actually having Jesus in the film would be distracting/be the only thing that people would want to talk about.Take out the "chosen one"and focus on those who are competing for he title of "most true to/beloved by the chosen one"and things are more complicated).

February 5,2016 | Unregistered Commentercatbaskets

Keira stepped away to have a family,her career was never on the downturn she gets better & better every year.

February 5,2016 | Unregistered Commentermark

Keira need to get back to her period movie so that she can raise more sisters like Mulligan,Saoirse Roan,Vikander for us

February 5,2016 | Unregistered CommenterHenry G

So this year we had Carol,which was kind of boring and year we get Colette,another lesbian?Pass.

February 5,2016 | Unregistered Commenterjack

A Hollywood movie that cast actual Middle Eastern leads to play Mary Magdalene and Jesus of Nazareth would be welcome.Rooney's a great actor,but then so was blonde-haired Willem DeFoe,and it wasn't enough to lift Scorcese's "Christ"out of the whitewashed morass.

February 5,2016 | Unregistered CommenterHustler

Kyle - thanks!

Henry G - love that pic of Keira and her sisters.

catbaskets - i like the idea of a story that doesn't include Jesus.Maybe this will be it.

/3rtful - great casting choice in Chiwetel Ejiofor.

February 5,2016 | Registered CommenterMurtada Elfadl

Mary Magdalene is arguably a fictional character.

February 5,2016 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

^ @Paul: the version of MM we most often get (prostitute saved by Jesus) is pretty much considered by historians to be made up.The historical Mary Magdalene was believed to be a wealthy educated woman from the Jewish upper classes who became a leader of the early Christian movement (and clashed with Peter ["the rock"],who eventually won their power struggle,established the church as his,and promoted the myth that Mary Magdalene had been a lowly prostitute)./endhistorylesson

February 5,2016 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

Paul - agreed.I had a line that I edited out.."So two real life people if you are a believer".

February 5,2016 | Registered CommenterMurtada Elfadl

Ejiofor would sink this movie before production.So glad you people don't get to cast movies.

February 5,2016 | Unregistered CommenterSue

I'd like to see Vincent Cassel take on the Gauthier-Villars role opposite Knightley.After all,both were featured inA Dangerous Method,which took place around the same time frame as the proposed Collette film -- to great if controversial effect (read: Knightley's interpretation).And Cassel is known to American audiences on top of being a Cesar award-winning actor with a solid filmography.

February 5,2016 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

@ SanFran:

And again I say (as a student of history and the Bible): arguably a fictional character,whether prostitute or upper-class person.

February 5,2016 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Lin Manuel-Miranda as Jesus opposite Rooney Mara

February 5,2016 | Unregistered CommenterLaura Farina

@LadyEdith - GREAT idea on casting Canet.Such an underrated movie and performance from Keira.She and Canet (who I believe is attached to another goddess,Cotillard,in real life) had such wonderful,warm and believable chemistry despite their age difference.

@Murtada don't forget Pike!She was all in Wright's P&P.Wonder what else he's up to next...I always have this fantasy about him directing a movie about the Mitfords with Keira as Nancy (or dyed blonde as Diana...) or a version of And There Were None.Speaking of Mara,Pan was such a waste of time for all involved and a lazy exercise in a story that didn't need to be re-told when Wright is so promising.

February 5,2016 | Unregistered Commentertr devlin

The story of Mary Magdalene is changed and often confused because there are so many Marys in the Bible.Yes a prostitute named Mary is mentioned,but then we have the more specific character of Mary Magdalene later.Most historians believe that the 2 women were combined.San Fran is right: today most historians believe that Magdalene was a wealthy woman who financially supported Jesus.After that the stories differ.One has Jesus appearing to her first after the Resurrection.(I kept waiting for that moment in Passion of the Christ) Because of this story,Magdalene was the beloved one of Jesus and were stories of her being his wife come about.However,another theory is that she was an older woman who was wealthy and simply a disciple,not romantically involved with Jesus.There is no mention of her towards the end of the Bible and some scholars believe that she died after the resurrection.If they wanted to follow the older Magdalene story they could have picked Barbara Hershey.

February 5,2016 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Saint Chastain has multiple movies in 2017 too!She's going to win back to back Best Actress!

February 5,2016 | Unregistered CommenterAveryStepfon

@tr devlin If you like both Rosamund Pike and Nancy Mitford,I'm guessing that you've seen Pike in Mitford's "Love in a Cold Climate"made by the BBC?Pike's character,Fanny,is mousy and shy,but endearing.

February 5,2016 | Unregistered Commenteradri

Meryl Streep as Florence Foster Jenkins.

February 5,2016 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

@tr devlin - Thanks for agreeing with me about Canet,and I'm sure Joe Wright will bounce back and do something interesting.
"Love in a Cold Climate"with Pike was pretty good,and the BBC recently did "And then There Were None"which played in the past month.(very good & the original ending)
God knows the Mitford sisters led such interesting and eccentric lives,I would love to see KK in some version.Anything that re-teamed her with James McAvoy would also be welcome.

February 6,2016 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

Rooney Mara is so absolutely wrong for this role,that we'd have to choose someone equally awful to act opposite her.So,Miles Teller for Jesus.

February 6,2016 | Unregistered Commenteradri

As a Christian who is not catholic I really hope the Mary Magdalene film does not get made.She is barely in the Bible and it says NOTHING about her background.Everything else is based on assumptions and catholic info that is rumors at best and meant to be fiction when it was told to people at worst.And fiction that is still told today like this films info would be.Thee are women in the Bible you can actually find info to make a biopic if you like and not add much info and nonbelievers could just take it as a story and everyone would be happy.But the Magdalene films is meant to cause controversy so it can get more attention and be seen as more artistic but at the same time make people believe it is based on info from the Bible for the most part.I hope if this happens if at least follows the catholic info somewhat accurately so at least some people are happy and it will be at least a bit more relevant.

Anyway,so happy for Keira getting a new project finally.And I am probably on of the rare people who actually loves Gigi.

February 6,2016 | Unregistered Commenterchinoiserie

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