There are few Hollywood starlets that I rate more highly than marginally spade-faced Keira Knightley, and of all late actresses I am fairly unoriginal in my fondness for Audrey Hepburn, so the rumours quite some time ago that Knightley has signed up to fill Hepburn’s shoes in a planned remake of My Fair Lady is, for me, great news. The whispers around the project died down though, until today when stories have begun circulating that Joe Wright, director of Knightley in Pride and Prejudice and the amazing Atonement, is also set to be involved. So Audrey Hepburn is back, but unlike Audrey, Keira’s vocals won’t be dubbed if her singing in last year’s The Edge of Love is anything to go by. The problem seems to be, however, whether or not any individual can ever truly succeed in a performance that has been done to perfection already, even with Joe Wright behind them and with a script by Emma Thompson. Jude Law, for example, failed spectacularly to capture the cheeky charm of Michael Caine’s Alfie, while Heath Ledger had to almost completely reinvent the Joker in order to escape the shadow of Jack Nicholson. Ledger’s is one of the few success stories in an encyclopaedia of failures, and there are perhaps no actors whose body of work has been imitated to such vast and undoubtable failure as Hepburn. I’m staying hopeful that Knightley will do the part justice, but given the past film-based efforts (I’m avoiding Anna Friel’s Holly Golightly considering its basis in Truman Capote’s novella rather than the role Hepburn created) it’s not looking good. Let’s review shall we?Julia Ormond in Sabrina
As remakes go this isn’t half bad, but Ormond lets herself become upstaged by hog Harrison Ford, something that Audrey Hepburn would never have done. As appearances go, it’s a great match, but the performance is a little lacklustre and isn’t a patch on the original.
Thandie Newton in The Truth About Charlie
An adaptation of one of my favourite Hepburn films Charade, this is just awful. Thandie Newton is certainly as beautiful as the woman who played Reggie Lampert first time around, but her acting is hammy and over the top and the chemistry between Hepburn and Cary Grant which made Charade so wonderful is practically non-existent with Thandie and Mark Wahlberg (who, incidentally, should stop ruining remakes with his presence).
Mandy Moore in Chasing Liberty
This isn’t a remake in the strictest sense, but is generally perceived as a modern re-imagining of Roman Holiday, set in a montage of European cities and featuring a very familiar Vespa ride. Mandy Moore is her usual perky self in a fairly pleasant film, but never truly convinces that she’s not just playing herself.
Jennifer Love Hewitt in The Audrey Hepburn Story
Again, not a remake, but a biopic. There are no words to describe how awful Love Hewitt is in this, so I shan’t bother finding any.
Good Luck Keira. With the trends that precede you, something tells me you’re going to need it.