Jane Eyre casting: Michael Fassbender as Rochester?

Wasikowska and Fassbender in talks for Jane Eyre

Oh, this is fabulous news! I’ve been keeping an eye on this project for some time now. In my previous post about Brontë’s sisters’ literary adaptation, when Ellen Page was reportedly still attached, they were still searching for the actor to play Rochester. Then miss Page left, but The Playlist reported that a rising auteur Cary Fukunaga — who won Sundance’s directing nod for his immigration-themed film Sin Nombre — is interested to direct. Well, now it looks like this project is back on the table and I must say I’m really pleased with the casting — this almost (though not entirely) makes up for my disappointment in the Wuthering HeightsHeathcliff casting of Gossip Girl‘s Ed Westwick, ugh!

According to Variety, Michael Fassbender, one of my picks for Top Ten Notable Foreign Actors, is in talks to play Rochester. He’d be joining Mia Wasikowska, who beat out several actresses to star in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland and had a small role in last year’s war drama Defiance. Interestingly enough, the 20-year-old Aussie actress was one of Variety‘s Annual Top Ten Actors to Watch list. I have yet to see her work though, but physically she seems right to play the ‘plain jane’ heroine. I mean she’s pretty but not jaw-dropping-ly stunning.

As for Rochester, I had my own picks a couple of months ago, pondering who would fit this criteria:

If we’re to be loyal to Brontë’s book, he’d shouldn’t be someone classically good looking. But that shouldn’t be a barrier either, as personifying Rochester ought to go beyond the physical form. Byronic is essentially possessing a forlorn, temperamental, melancholic characteristic with a great disdain and regret over his dark past.

Alas, Fassbender wasn’t on my list, but I imagine he’s got the acting chops and range to pull off this role, even if he’s just a tad too young — not to mention handsome to boot — at 32 (Rochester is supposed to be about 20 years older than the 18-year-old Jane). His star is definitely on the rise, and for good reason. The German/Irish actor garnered rave reviews in Hunger, Fish Tank and Inglorious Basterds, and was recently cast in A Single Shot, a thriller with Forest Whitaker, William H. Macy and Thomas Haden Church.

The project is slated for release in 2011. Can’t wait to see how the stack up against a plethora of other adaptations of this classic story. What say you, folks? If you’re a Brontë fan, are you happy with the casting?

5 thoughts on “Jane Eyre casting: Michael Fassbender as Rochester?

  1. Um, I’d say YES =) I know they’ve done it many times over but mostly for TV. I’d love to see this movie on the big screen in a ‘contemporary’ adaptation a la Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice. I gotta check out the Orson Welles version one of these days, but for me, my fave version is the 1983 BBC version with Timothy Dalton as Rochester. He’s a hugely underrated actor IMO.

    I just saw the FT trailer on your blog. WOW, that’s definitely intense and grim. Interesting fact about Katie Jarvis as the lead, amazing work for a complete newbie. Fassbender is quickly becoming one of my fave actors so I might check this one out. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Samantha

    As much as I enjoy looking at Fassbender, they just lost my interest. I can’t decide whether or not using unknowns is a good thing or a bad thing. I mean, yes, by using wellknowns it could be infinitely worse, but going with young, pretty, unknowns just says to me that the powers that be are not willing to give the novel an appropriate adaptation … they’re just interested in making a flashy movie based on a well-known novel.

    1. Hey Sam, I’m sorry you feel this way. I’m not sure that they’re interested in making a ‘flashy’ movie by casting these two unknowns … the director’s last indie flick Sin Nombre was said to be moving & thought-provoking, which is why I’m hopeful this would be an intimate and faithful adaptation. The Playlist also said “This version will apparently play up the gothic qualities of the novel…”

      I’d give it a chance if you like the novel. If anything, I’m with you that it’d be far worse if they cast someone famous like Cruise or Clooney.

      1. Samantha

        I love the novel. And I could’ve guessed they’d be “playing up the gothic angle” what with consumer’s current love of all things “dark” (by which I mean sparkly). I just … I dunno. I gave up being a purist about books into movies a long time ago, ’cause it was hardly ever done the way I would’ve liked. I’ll keep an ear out for reviews and maybe I’ll give it a chance. Just disappointed, somehow.

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