We make suggestions as to which tragic love story Baz Luhrmann should tackle after the release of THE GREAT GATSBY this weekend
Baz Luhrmann has made a name for himself by creating expansive and beautiful films, centred around a tragic and doomed love story. Luhrmann’s latest – THE GREAT GATSBY – hit Irish cinemas this week, and we put our thinking caps on to consider which tragic tale of love and loss we would like Luhrmann to tackle next…
Heloise and Abelard
Heloise and Abelard lived around the 11th century. They met and became lovers when the young Heloise became a student of Abelard; one of the most celebrated teachers and philosophers in Paris. Things went wrong for the couple when Heloise became pregnant and, although they secretly married, Heloise went into a convent and her protective uncle had Abelard castrated for his sins.
Heloise went on to become a prioress and Abelard took the life of a monk. The pair began a passionate and erudite correspondence, but it did not take long for Abelard to tell Heloise that although they were still married, he had never loved her. Whether Abelard was trying to spare Heloise’s feelings, or his contrition was a result of his castration is not clear, but Heloise and Abelard lived a tragic life apart from one another.
Heloise and Abelard’s letters and story have been referenced in countless works, not least in the puppet show in Being John Malkovich.
This may be a slightly too still a story for Baz Luhrmann, and it certainly would not leave much room for expansive parties in a film, but the soundtrack would be absolutely gorgeous and the cinematography of the lovers’ cells would be the best you have ever seen.
The Time Traveler’s Wife
Audrey Niffenegger’s 2003 book tells of a man with a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel. Henry first meets Clare when she is a child, but to her, they first meet when she is 20 years old. The pair fall in love, but Henry’s time travel means that he will never live a normal life and Clare inevitably spends much of her adult life mourning the loss of her husband.
OK, we know that there has already been a film of this book, directed by Robert Schwentke and starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana, but what was a dark and tragic book became a melodramatic and awkward film. Imagine is Luhrmann toned down his trademark visual style – and love of sparkles – for a remake of this story, and focused on the tragedy that drove this couple apart.
Lancelot and Guinevere
Lancelot was a Knight of the Round Table under King Arthur, and Guinevere was Arthur’s wife. The two fell in love and, although Arthur tried to keep them apart, eventually became lovers. When they were eventually discovered Lancelot escaped, but Guinevere was sentenced to death for her crime. Luckily, love saved the day and Lancelot returned to rescue his lover, but the two lived the rest of their lives apart; Guinevere as a nun and Lancelot as a hermit.
Even though this story has been told on screen before, this seems more like Luhrmann’s wheelhouse. There is plenty of room for expanse and illicit love in the kingdom of King Arthur and we feel sure that you have not seen such a lush forest as the one that Luhrmann and his team would create.
The Phantom of the Opera
Badly disfigured and shunned from birth, Erik lives underneath the Paris Opera House, indulging his love of music. When young singer Christine Daaé catches his ear, however, he falls hopelessly in love with her and kidnaps her into the catacombs beneath the Opera House. Christine loves another man – Raoul – but finds herself drawn to the dark and tortured soul who is fascinated by her singing. When a man is killed, however, the Phantom is blamed and the pair are torn apart.
The Phantom of the Opera is another story that has had many on screen adaptations – the most recent being an ill-conceived version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical – but we have a suspicion that this dark story coupled with the music inherent in the story would be right up Baz Luhrmann’s street. As well as this, the setting of the Opera House is not dissimilar to the Moulin Rouge – albeit in another part of Paris – but would bring Luhrmann back to Paris and back to music. What could go wrong?
Antony and Cleopatra
Antony and Cleopatra fell in love at first sight, and their bond made ancient Egypt powerful and strong. The Roman Empire was not best pleased at this and, while fighting a battle against the Romans, Antony heard – falsely – that Cleopatra had been killed. Consumed with grief, Antony took his own life and when Cleopatra heard of the death of her husband, she followed him to eternity.
Not unlike Romeo + Juliet, the story of Antony and Cleopatra was also dramatised by William Shakespeare, so we would support another R+J-esque adaptation. We would also be delighted to see Luhrmann and his team recreate ancient Egypt; the visual splendour would be simply breathtaking.
Have we missed your favourite tale of love and loss? What would you like to see Baz Luhrmann tackle next… Rom-Com? Action Flick? Zomie Film? Let us know in the comments below.
THE GREAT GATSBY is in Irish cinemas now
Words: Brogen Hayes