No, I don’t know why they’re remaking My Fair Lady, either

my fair lady

Word on the internets is that Keira Knightley is officially starring in the My Fair Lady remake, and that Joe Wright (Pride and Prejudice, Atonement) is set to direct. The 1964 My Fair Lady is one of my very favorite movies, so I feel I need to have an official opinion about this. I don’t need a remake. I don’t want a remake. But it seems to be happening despite my personal displeasure, so I figure I’m going to look on the bright side and remind myself that as a theatrical work, the new movie will be more of an adaptation than a remake. Also, I keep reminding myself that Emma Thompson is writing the screenplay, and it is my belief that Emma Thompson is a goddess who has blessed us mortals with her presence.

The other thing to consider, of course, is the rest of the cast. So I’m offering up my own suggestions of whom should be cast in the new My Fair Lady.

Eliza Doolittle

Keira Knightley

Keira Knightley

All right, so she wouldn’t have been my first choice, but I’m resigning myself to this as gracefully as I can. I have this problem with Keira Knightley where I can’t decide whether or not I like her. Also, I feel like she’s in every costume drama nowadays, and I’d like a little variety. Really, I’m thinking her Atonement costar, Romola Garai, would have been a better choice. And I have no idea if Ms. Knightley can sing. But you know, back in 1964, there were plenty of angry Julie Andrews fans who didn’t understand why Audrey Hepburn was going to be Eliza, so I’m just…going to withhold judgment at the moment and see what happens.

Henry Higgins

Hugh Laurie

Hugh Laurie

Emma Thompson suggested Hugh Laurie for this role, furthering my belief that the woman is a genius. I’m actually more nervous about this casting than I was about Eliza, because Henry Higgins is a very particular sort of character, and frankly, Rex Harrison was pure perfection in the original, winning both a Tony and an Oscar for his performance. I’ve read that Daniel Craig is being considered, but…I’m kind of at the point where I can’t imagine anyone other than Hugh Laurie doing this properly. To be Professor Higgins, our actor needs to have a good sense of comedic delivery, the ability to play a lovable grouch, and the ability to portray a certain arrogance–not the quiet, Colin Firth/Mr. Darcy kind of  snobbery, but a loud, childish, petulance. Now, tell me if you can come up with anyone who excels at playing a lovably grouchy, childish, arrogant jerk and also has a significant comedy background. Anyone come to mind?

Col. Pickering

Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry

Okay, I confess that I’m just being indulgent now. The actor in the original movie, Wilfrid Hyde-White, was quite a bit older than Stephen Fry, but I’m letting that go for the chance of seeing Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry be boyfriends again. Really, though, I have no doubt Stephen Fry could play this role, and the two of them play off each other brilliantly.

Freddy Eynsford-Hill

Ewan McGregor

Ewan McGregor

It helps knowing that Ewan McGregor can carry a tune, I admit, but if he wouldn’t mind doing another (more traditional) musical, he could totally be the doting, earnest Freddy. He can be awkward, he can be charming, and he can sing “On the Street Where You Live” without making my ears bleed. That’s really all I require from Freddy.

Mrs. Higgins

Julie Andrews

Julie Andrews

It’s time for justice to be served. If Julie Andrews is not in this movie, the gods will weep. She was the original Eliza on Broadway, but she wasn’t a big enough deal for the movie. (She was, however, a big enough deal to be Mary Poppins and win an Oscar that very same year.) I need Julie Andrews to be in this movie, and Mrs. Higgins will give her a chance to be a little bitchy.

Alfred Doolittle

Alun Armstrong

Alun Armstrong

If you’ve seen the Les Miserables concert video, where he played Thenardier, the innkeeper, then you know that Alun Armstrong could play the role of Eliza’s drunken father with both hands tied behind his back.

Mrs. Pearce

Imelda Staunton

Imelda Staunton

For Mrs. Pearce, the housekeeper, my first thought was Angela Lansbury. But…she’s Angela Lansbury, and this isn’t that big a role, so I wasn’t sure if that would fly. Also, she’s going to be in the new revival of A Little Night Music on Broadway, so she’s going to be busy. Next thought was Maggie Smith, but that feels so obvious. Finally, I decided on Imelda Staunton, who has a tendency to pop up in movies associated with Emma Thompson, so I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if she does end up in My Fair Lady. Whether you know her as Umbridge or as the chatty Mrs. Palmer in Sense and Sensibility, Imelda Staunton is so versatile, I could probably cast her in anything. Plus, she and Hugh Laurie are hilarious together.

And there you go. If by some strange miracle, this ends up being the cast of My Fair Lady, not only will I go see it, I will look forward to it and stop wondering why the hell this remake–I’m sorry, adaptation–is necessary in the first place.




Filed under adaptations, movies

6 responses to “No, I don’t know why they’re remaking My Fair Lady, either

  1. ElinorDash

    I agree the Hugh Laurie would make a great Henry Higgins, but it’s hard to picture anyone but Rex Harrison singing “Why Can’t the English?” However, even before House, Laurie was hilarious in Sense and Sensibility with his sarcastic quips and demeaning looks, so he could play Higgins well.

    Also, could not agree more about Emma Thompson and how fabulous she is – makes me want to go watch Love Actually or Much Ado About Nothing.

  2. Pingback: Sally Sparrow replacing Elizabeth Bennet? « This is random, but…

  3. Rochelle

    Hugh Laurie as Henry Higgins=large amounts of suckege for me. Hugh Laurie plays one role and he plays that one role very well in every film/tv show he’s ever been in…but that role is not Henry Higgins. I think her suggestions are absolutely whacked out. I do enjoy him, although I am starting to find that he is becoming overrated. He has become the new Johnny Depp of suggestions, people suggest him for every goddamn film and everyone just “loves him!” ::GAG::…the scary thing is that this suggestion could very well occur considering the fact that Emma Thompson recycles her cast.

    I’ve also heard Stephen Fry for Pickering and now Carey Mulligan for Eliza Doolittle.

    Something I’ve noticed is that she uses the same goddamn actors in every film and she’s become Tim Burton in a way. She is afraid to move away from her clique and afraid to move out of her box. She hasn’t written a good script in 15 years, she hasn’t made a good film in 15 years. She also does not have an original idea in her head, she’s made her career off of other people’s work. She needs to stop adapting work and start creating her own work.

    The original play Pygmalion did not have music…so why the heck is she remaking My Fair Lady? The musical version was created in the 50s, not 1912. Pygmalion, the stage version with no music, was made in 1912. That makes no sense to make My Fair Lady similar to the 1912 version. If she does that than it will not be a remake or even a re adaption, it will be a reinvention. My Fair Lady was absolutely true to the stage version with a great deal of the same actors in the film. I will not be seeing the remake because I think it is disrespectful and tasteless to remake a classic film with very few cinematic flaws.

    By the way, Julie Andrews was cast instead of Mary Martin for The Sound of Music, I love how no one complained then. Julie Andrews feels no contempt for what happened, so why the heck should people still feel contempt today? Oh yea they have no ability to think for themselves and since “everyone is supposedly angry” than people end up being “angry” for that.

  4. Al Schintu


    I am currently playing Professor Higgins in a stage version which “edgier” than any I have seen – thanks to a fantastic director (and some of my own homework maybe).

    We have stayed close enough to the original stage/movie version for audiences to see them but different enough to surprise and delight audiences with something unexpected.

    A few older patrons who saw the original stage production have told us they had not sean a better production of MFL since. High praise and humbly accepted.

    Now to the new movie: WHY WHY WHY???

    I loved the original and and adore Audrey. I was shocked and annoyed when one of my fellow cast members told me about this last night. When I heard this was an Emma Thompson thing – I was confused. I love her work! Now that I see the potential cast above – I am still asking if this new version is really necesary – but I love them all! Fantastic casting although Keira Knightley would not have been my first choice to play Eliza.

    I am still confused and a little annoyed that this is being remade but I am curious and look forward to seeing it after seeing this website.

    In the meantime – as a theatrical “Higgins for Hire” – I must now prepare for tonight’s performance…

    Thanks for reading.


  5. Eliza Doolittle… CAREY MULLIGAN
    Prof. Henry Higgins… HUGH LAURIE
    Alfred Doolitle… ROWAN ATKINSON
    Col. Pickering… STEPHEN FRY
    Zoltan Karpathy… RIK MAYALL
    Freddy… ?
    and TONY ROBINSON(as “Wadaya ‘tike me for, a fool?”)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s