I’m not sure when Dakota Fanning will make the transition to being considered a serious actress, but this is a decent first step. As Deadline reports, she’ll be starring in the biopic Effie, which is being directed by Richard Laxton and written by Emma Thompson. The movie is focused on the marriage of Euphemia Gray and John Ruskin in 1850’s London, and how this marriage failed, eventually leading to her marrying a protege of Ruskin, John Everett Millais.
The film’s cast has been filled out pretty heavily, with Greg Wise set for Ruskin, Tom Sturridge playing Millais, and Thompson as Lady Eastlake, “who takes Effie under her wing when it was clear the union was destroying the young woman.” Additionally, the parents of Ruskin are being played by Derek Jacobi and Julie Walters, while Edward Fox has the part of Sir Charles Eastlake, the husband of Lady Eastlake. Shooting starts on October 17th in Venice, Scotland, and London, with Don Rosenfeld and Andreas Roald producing; they pulled together the $10 million budget “through private equity.” Rosenfeld called the script “brilliant,” and said that it “gets to the heart of Victorian England.”
The development on this movie has been long, with actresses such as Saoirse Ronan and Carey Mulligan having been mentioned as contenders for the lead part. The delays in this moving forward can partially be blamed on a lawsuit from someone claiming that they had the rights to the story, but that obviously didn’t work out for them.
Fanning is certainly an interesting choice here; none of her acting work thus far has felt adult, mostly due to her young age, but this could very well change that. If Effie is her taking a step toward a true career, then she’s doing it right, as the prestige behind the film is pretty high. A story like the one that’s been described isn’t something that always catches my attention, but I’m always willing to see something that’s earned acclaim, and the people involved make me a little hopeful. We won’t know for a little while if this turns out well — the premiere is planned for the Venice Film Festival next year — but the odds aren’t too bad right now.
Is Fanning a good choice for the lead in Effie? Is this a project that you would want to see?
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