With all the sci-fi stuff swirling around in my head ever since District 9, I just had to take a break and watch something entirely different. As you know, my taste in movies span across genres, and one of my all time favorite period film is Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel adaptation North & South. Thanks to a Youtube clip I found randomly (oh how I survived without that site before I’ll never know), I immediately rented it and had to have it for my collection. Set in the mid-19th century, the story exposes the industrial North and its conflicts from its heroine Margaret Hale’s point of view, an outsider from the South. But the heart of it is a love story between its Margaret and the dashing mill owner John Thornton, much like Pride & Prejudice where the lovebirds didn’t get off on the right foot from the start.
This is the movie where I discovered British actor Richard Armitage, who played the role of John Thornton so brilliantly mesmerizing it made Colin Firth’s Darcy as exciting as an A&E Saturday afternoon special. No offense to Mr. Firth, though he never did tickled my fancy, but Richard’s gaze and gravely voice definitely give his Darcy a serious run for his money.
In my previous post, I suggested Richard for the role of futuristic Robin Hood, having just played his nemesis Guy of Gisborne in the BBC series about the medieval hero. Now that series’ run has ended, his IMDB profile still doesn’t list any future project in the works for him. But perusing his forum did produce a glimmer of hope! A director/producer by the name of Mike Ogden is currently producing a film called Charlie, and Richard’s been tapped as the lead. Check out the premise:
Southern Italy, 1943. An on the run Allied prisoner of war – Charlie – encounters Marco, the teenage son of an executed partisan leader, out for revenge. Charlie wants nothing to do with Marco or his friends who have also run away. As the German commander ‘Schwarz’ ruthlessly sweeps the valley searching for him, Charlie finds he has to rely on the help of the children to survive until Marco discovers Charlie’s secret, one that could tear their fragile trust apart.
According to its official site, pre production will start in October 2009 with filming taking place during January/February 2010 in Italy.
All I can say is hurray!! I hope this will find a distributor in the US, but even if it’s released on DVD, it’s better than nothing. Oh well, I guess that’s what happens when your taste run in the obscure when it comes to actors. I found Gerry Butler far more intriguing when he was lesser-known. I did wish one day people will discover him and I wouldn’t have to search hard and might just to find a picture of him in a magazine. Oh well, be careful what you wish for I guess.
In the meantime ladies, here’s a clip of Richard as the fabulous John Thornton for your (and my) amusement: