Burns, baby, Burns!

GB as the Robert Burns – what better man to play Scotland’s favorite son than the very Scottish Gerard Butler?

Robert 'Rabbie' Burns
Robert 'Rabbie' Burns

Now this is as good a news as they come for Gerard Butler’s fans. Those who’ve been following his career for a while knows full well he’d be perfect for the role and allegedly, the actor himself WANTS to do it. As far back as 3 years ago, at the Red Eye premiere (that smart thriller with Cillian Murphy & Rachel McAdams), he told a reporter that he’s read the script, and in his usual gregariousness enthused how great it was. He even said Julia Stiles was interested to play Burns’ love interest, Jean Armour. Sadly, it went ‘puff’ as soon as GB got his big break in 300. Suddenly he became too busy doing everything from rom-coms to straight-to-DVD wannabe-thrillers that Burns got put in the back burner  (or more like shoved under the rug!). He blamed it on financing but methinks he just got other priorities that spell ‘ka-ching.’ Let’s face it, doing a biopic on Rabbie Burns isn’t exactly Michael Bay-type of a blockbuster.

In any case, as of January ’09, seems like the Burns biopic is finally back on! According to Filmstalker, even the Scottish Government is going to provide financial backing for the film. How cool is that? You can read more about it here.

Let’s hope that this is more than just a rumor or wishful thinking. I can’t wait to see GB’s dramatic chops nail this one, oh, and it’d be great to hear him use his own Scottish brogue for once!

In honor of Burns, here are five notable biopics worth another look:

  • Walk the Line (Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash)
  • Ray (Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles)
  • Schindler’s List (Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler)
  • The Agony & the Ecstasy (Charlton Heston as Michelangelo)
  • A Beautiful Mind (Russell Crowe as Noble Prize winner John Nash)

FlixChatter Review: The Painted Veil

This is one of the most touching and poignant movie I’ve seen in a very long time. The tag line says “Sometimes the greatest journey is the distance between two people.” And what a journey it really is.

The story takes place in China in the 1920s, which tells the story of a mid-class doctor (Walter) who marries an upper-class woman (Kitty) and moves to Shanghai. It’s clear from the beginning that she marries him only to please her family. In Shanghai, she has an affair with a fellow ex pat (Liev Schreiber, Watt’s real life partner), which is quickly discovered by her husband. As an act of vengeance, Walter whisks her off to a remote village ravaged by cholera. It is here, amongst the deadly epidemic and tough circumstances, that they rediscover their relationship and find purpose both as a couple and as a person.

The movie is superbly acted and well-written. Ed Norton is in top form as always (he’s easily one of the best actors working today) and Naomi Watts gives a wonderful, nuanced portrayal as the initially unlikable Kitty, but she slowly earns my sympathy as the film wears on. Toby Jones as the couple’s cheery neighbor Waddington also gives a notable performance.

What I love the most is how the movie presents the characters as they are, neither heroic nor evil (like most people are), they are simply human. The film does shy away from being ‘preachy,’ such as when dealing with a Catholic orphanage, focusing instead on how the characters evolve as the story progresses. Although the pace is a bit slow at times, the ending has such a redeeming quality that it’s worth every second. It also boast a beautiful cinematography of the lush rural setting in China.

It’s rare to find a movie that tells a wonderful human drama without being too cutesy or overly romantic. Love is more than a bed of roses or candlelit dinner in fact, it’s best experienced when you’d least expect it.


Have you seen this film? Let me know what you think.

Before GB was famous

Prior to bellowing ‘Tonight, we dine in hell!” in 300 with his gravelly voice, Gerard Butler was just a struggling actor trying to make ends meet. Fast forward ten years and this short film still takes my breath away!

Peter is a novelist who is going out of his mind because his wife and daughter have left him. He’s bought a Smith & Wesson and put one bullet in it. Please note: though short, this film packs a punch and is not for the faint of hearts.

Published by: Atom Films, 1999

Director: Paul Black

Awards:

  • Best Live Action at the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival
  • Best Short film at the British Academy Awards
  • Official Selection at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 1999