Currently wowing audiences in the U.S. as the title character Prince Caspian in the latest Disney production of CS Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, Ben Barnes has just been added to the cast of an adaptation of one of Western literature’s greatest pieces of fiction, The Picture of Dorian Gray.
A relative unknown before being cast as the new lead in Prince Caspian — which has been the way of things for the Narnia series — Barnes, an Englishman by birth, had only four roles before his big-screen debut. It doesn’t surprise then to see him quickly being snatched up, and I can’t quite think of a better role for a young man to acquire so soon in to his screen acting career.
Easily one of the greatest pieces of English literature, The Picture of Dorian Gray was written by Oscar Wilde, and is his only published novel (though Wilde is also the man behind such works as the classic play The Importance of Being Earnest).
Dorian Gray was an exceptionally beautiful man, the subject of a painting by artist Basil Hallward. However, Dorian, so enamored with his own beauty, wishes that his painting would age instead of his physical body. This leads to Dorian Gray living a lifestyle that could only be called “revelry in debauchery.” With each sin he commits, the painting grows more and more hideous, until in the end”¦
Well that would be ruining it wouldn’t it?
The book was a controversial at the time of publication, in the late 1800s, as it deals with decadence and homosexuality in a time when such things were thoroughly frowned upon.
The movie will be produced by Barnaby Thompson and directed by Oliver Parker. The pair has previously teamed up to create the movies An Ideal Husband, The Importance of Being Earnest, and most recently, St. Trinian’s. Thompson will produce through his Fragile Films label, now owned by Ealing Studios, with Parker helming the ship.
Thompson said that Parker is planning to make a visceral, dark horror story, and that the themes of achieving stardom and the lifestyle attached are as relevant as ever.
This is a movie that I am now really looking forward too, but with filming beginning at the end of July this year don’t expect the movie until the middle or end of 2009.