[OPE-L] Francis Wheen: Show Me the Kapital to make "Karl Marx the Movie"

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Wed Feb 28 2007 - 09:08:09 EST

Johnny Depp as Karl Marx? / In solidarity, Jerry

Francis Wheen: Show Me the Kapital to make "Karl Marx the Movie"
by Oliver Duff

Francis Wheen's 1999 biography of Karl Marx portrayed an endearing,
cigar-chomping Victorian hellraiser prone to intellectual bullying,
drunken pub crawls and organising his daughter's suitors; penniless and
largely ignored in his lifetime. Fans of the book included the militia
leaders of Afghanistan's anti-Taliban Northern Alliance.

Now Wheen, columnist, historian and deputy editor of Private Eye, is in
talks to turn his opus into a film. On Friday, he met in Paris with the
Haitian director Raoul Peck, a former cab driver who became the Haitian
Culture minister during a brief democratic hiatus, soon to work with
Martin Scorsese.

"It's early days, but quite exciting," Wheen tells Pandora. "Raoul Peck
seems very nice. We're putting together a treatment and finding funds from

Wheen has been here before - in 1999, with movie mogul Harvey Weinstein,
then boss of Miramax. Weinstein sent his emissary Tina Brown to London to
tell Wheen that he loved the book, wanted Tom Stoppard to write a
screenplay and planned to cast Ralph Fiennes as Marx and Gwyneth Paltrow
as the aristocratic wife, Jenny von Westphalen.

Weinstein and Brown's interest evaporated. A subsequent BBC dramatisation
was pulled when Greg Dyke "suddenly said he was fed up with 19th-century
dramas with bonnets". Says Wheen: "I explained, unsuccessfully, that there
aren't many bonnets in the Marx story."

Wheen's ideal casting? "Johnny Depp and [his wife] Vanessa Paradis."


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