Film Makers Hoping Twilight Fans Will Flock to Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre
Encouraged by the success of the Twilight films, producers are looking to the Bronte sisters and Jane Austen as inspiration for new films aimed at teens and young adults. The theory is that what makes Twilight so popular is its dose of Gothic romance.
The film-makers are piggybacking off the success of the Twilight saga, which has sparked a renewed enthusiasm among financiers for gothic romance; the Brontes in particular. Wuthering Heights is one of Twilight heroine Bella Swan's favourite books, frequently referenced in the third episode Eclipse, whose storyline is inspired by Emily Bronte's only novel.
The producers of the latest Bronte projects are targeting the Twilight audience with younger casts than previous versions and scripts that emphasise the sensational gothic elements alongside a contemporary psychological realism.
Wuthering Heights, directed by Peter Webber, will star 22-year-old Ed Westwick, a British actor best known from the American teen TV series Gossip Girl, as an unusually youthful Heathcliff. Gemma Arterton, 23, will play Cathy.
Jane Eyre, meanwhile, will be directed by Cary Fukunaga who, in the pursuit of authenticity on his last film Sin Nombre, got arrested for riding illegally on the roof of a cargo train. Jane Eyre stars the 20-year-old Mia Wasikowska, soon to be seen in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, opposite Michael Fassbender as Mr Rochester (who was at one point lined up for Heathcliff in the other film).
There is a significant difference between the Twilight books and these classics: Twilight has a modern setting. It remains to be seen whether modern teens want to dive into Jane Eyre on the big screen.