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Rochester discussions

Post by Admin on Fri Sep 24, 2010 7:23 pm

http://cinemaocd.blogspot.com/2010/09/reader-i-shagged-him.html

Monday, September 20, 2010
Reader, I shagged him

There are cinematic obsessions and there are literary obsessions. Sometimes they mingle in our brains. Tainted, we re-read with movies in our heads, yet while watching movies, we are haunted by the ghosts of the books which have been sliced and diced in the production. I've dwelt on some of my literary adaptation obsessions before--Hamlet, Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice-- and I daresay I'll talk about them again in future. That won't prevent me from harping on them today.

There have been 21 adaptations of Jane Eyre, including one currently in production for release next year. As always when a new adaption comes out, one looks back at what has been and wonders why we need another. With Jane Eyre, most the actresses who've played the title part have been great, always laboring to look less pretty than they are in frumpy center-part hair-dos. The Rochesters on the other hand. . . the Rochesters! A Jane Eyre is only as good as its Rochester.

Rochester, we know from the book, is supposed to be plain, as well as shortish, broad-chested, and hairy with an uneven temper and a tendency toward incivility. He is often depicted in illustrations as looking a bit like, well, Wolverine from X-Men. (Invariably Rochester has awesomely big mutton chops, which is one of the things that keeps me coming back to adaptations of Jane Eyre.) Jane, with her artist's sensitivity to shape describes him as a solid square block. I've wracked my brain to think of an actor that fits this description and the best I can come up with is perhaps a young Edward G. Robinson. (Well he has the right first name, at least). That is not to say the a pretty, tall, blond, affable American can't try to play Rochester, but he will probably fail as badly as William Hurt did in 1996.

The first Talkie Rochester was Colin Clive. With a script that pares the story down to a 62 minutes, so little of the original story left here that it's difficult to judge. Clive is surely all wrong: he's congenial and handsome, and when he says he's been living in torment for 15 years his tone of voice seems to say, "it's dashed inconvenient having an insane wife, you know, old sport. Blood curdling screams interrupting house parties and all that." Still, I like Clive because he's obscure and English. He was tormented in his real life, I think. I just wish we got some of it on the screen.

The 1944 adaptation is often credited to its star, Orson Welles, though it was surely mostly directed by the competent Robert Stevenson. Welles did have a large amount of input on casting and possibly even directing some scenes himself. It is the touchstone adaptation, the one that everyone remembers, and it invented quite a lot of business that wasn't in the novel. One of the screenwriters was Aldus Huxley who had created the buoyant but faithless adaptation of Pride and Prejudice a few years earlier. Huxley invents a famous scene in which Helen Burns, (played by a young Elizabeth Taylor), Jane Eyre's doomed school chum, has her hair cut by the vice-hunting Mr. Brocklehurst. Many subsequent adaptations have had a similar scene. The book includes only a passing remark that the students in the school didn't like him because he starves them, gives long sermons and cuts their hair. I think we should take that to mean that it was required to keep one's hair short, not that he took the time to perform a gruesome public shearing with his own hands while sermonizing about vanity. Yet this visceral scene lives on because it works to visually express the cruelty and near-slavery that Jane experienced in her young life.

The 1944 version was my introduction to the story and I was disappointed to learn that my favorite line--Welles' raspy, "Jane, would it be so wicked to love me?" --is actually changed from the book. (It's even better in the book because Jane retorts, "No, but it would be to obey you.") The first time I read the novel I was not only surprised by the substantial trimming of the story, but shocked by the fact that the book really is more about the title character than it is about Rochester. Imagine, reader, nearly a hundred pages go by with barely a mention of his name. Joan Fontaine can hardly begin to capture the essence of the character because she simply isn't allowed to do go there. The best Jane scenes from the book are all cut from the adaptation and even her passion for Rochester is watered down. Jane in the book is sorely tempted not to leave after the wedding is interrupted. This wasn't something the film makers could really get into in 1944.

The novel's Rochester is funny, generous, playful, capricious, silver-tongued and romantic. He is so much more than the brooding bad boy he's too often mistaken for in pop culture. This is a dude who will throw a huge, month-long house party, at risk of exposing a dread secret to the world at large, cross-dress as a gypsy fortune-teller, and propose marriage to another woman just to find out if his governess really likes him or not. He has style. Orson Welles certainly first captured this dashing quality in Rochester. Welles doesn't try to hide his American accent; he just plays the haughty aspects of the character to the hilt. As Rochester himself would, he dares you find fault with him. I love that he doesn't shy away from the character's many complicated and long speeches, but seems to relish Rochester's talkiness. In still pictures, Welles' soft, boyish beauty bleeds through, but on screen his cigar-chomping swagger and bossiness are the main thing, we notice. He is Rochester because he believes he is and so do we. His confidence is everything.

George C. Scott, another confident, cigar-chomping American also played Rochester, not long after Roots had invented the American mini-series television format. This was always my father's favorite adaptation, and I half-suspect that is partly because he could pretend he was watching Patton instead of Gothic romance.

Because Rochester is an anti-hero it is no surprise that the novel has many references to Macbeth (another role played with panache by Welles). While Rochester is not as bad as Macbeth--as far as we know, there are no murders in his past, just hints of more of a sex life than was generally allowed in novels about decent people in the 19th century--he does have a lot in common with Shakespeare's silver-tongued blackguard. He also has a lot in common with another famous Scottish badboy, the womanizing, James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell. In the novel, Blanche Ingram compares him to "black Bothwell." It is interesting bit of trivia that Bothwell, had several common law wives, one of them, named "Janet," who was thought to be a witch. Rochester refers to Jane frequently as "Janet" and on more than one occasion teasingly accuses her of witchcraft.

The sensual side of Rochester, Rochester the lady killer, was best captured by Toby Stephens in the 2006 adaptation. I confess that I totally ripped off the headline for this post from a newspaper story promoting this mini-series adaptation. The script dwells on all those scenes from the novel where Rochester explains sex to Jane, in deeply unnecessary detail. Meanwhile, he goes about in his shirtsleeves and riding boots, pinning butterflies to cardboard and other acts of obvious innuendo and generally being as hot as a guy who was described by his creator as "an ugly man" dares to be. The screenwriter carefully turns the fact that Jane does not find him handsome into a joke. In one scene, which re-writes classic Victorian literature as PG-13 fan fiction, Rochester tries to prevent Jane from running away from Thornfield by pinning her to bed and making out with her. It almost works, but Jane must inevitably sneak away late at night, while lots of female audience members are thinking-- nay, shouting at the screen--"What's a little attempted bigamy, anyway!?"

Another too handsome Rochester, was Timothy Dalton in 1983. I find this one the weakest of the longer-form adaptations, because it suffers from bad production values and makes substantial changes to the plot. Yet Dalton is fun to watch and at times his brusque manner makes him almost a little unattractive. Almost. I would probably like the whole thing better if they had given him mutton chops.

Spend any time with the Cult of Rochester, whose members are fewer but no less ardent then those in the Cult of Darcy, and you will inevitably be led to Michael Jayston, the star of the 1973 BBC adaptation. Though this serial suffers from 70s BEEB production values (funky hair, make-up and costumes; sets and interior lighting more at home in a cubicle farm than a shadowy old house), it has a devoted fan base. It is one of my favorites because of Jayston who wonderfully captures the teasing tone of so much of Rochester's interaction with Jane and allows you to see that he is quite in love with her. Yes, he's blond, lightly built and more civil in his 19th century incivility than your average "perfect gentleman" is nowadays, but Jayston brings dignity to the role, refusing to ham it up. He inhabits the character rather than putting him on to strut around for a few hours, as many actors do. With a script that is practically a transcription of the novel (down to annoying voice-overs that unnecessarily explain what Jane is thinking), he really gets to bring the character to life.


So after all this do we need another Jane Eyre? I think we do. In the novel, Rochester goes occasionally goes into fugue-like states while describing his romantic past. He seems transported and talking to creatures that aren't in the room. He is very nearly insane, streching arms out to embrace angels and arguing with invisible witches. Of course, Macbeth sees ghosts (and witches), too. Combine these delusions with his obviously depressed state through much of the novel, and you could make a solid case that there is more than one member of the Rochester clan who is nuts. The 1997 adaptation starring Ciaran Hinds suggested a mentally unstable Rochester, but more often than not Hinds' interpretation came out seeming like a series of wildly inappropriate acting choices. I'd love to see a truly batshit Rochester, played like a manic depressive, perhaps. Also Rochester and Jane talk nearly constantly of fairies, sprites and folk tales. Though the 1944 and 2006 adaptations are mysterious and stylized, I'd love to see an adaptation that was even more over the top in this regard. The upcoming adaptation promises to be so which gives me hope, but I worry that its Rochester, Michael Fassbinder, is probably to blond, chisled and Germanic to be quite right.
Posted by Jennythenipper at 11:55 AM

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Re: Rochester discussions

Post by Admin on Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:39 pm

http://marksalisbury.blogspot.com/2010/11/poster-jane-eyre.html

Monday, 8 November 2010
Poster: Jane Eyre

I met Mia Wasikowska a few times during the making of Alice In Wonderland and found her to be delightful. She's also a damn fine actress. Witness her opposite Gabriel Byrne in In Treatment. She's one of the reasons why I'm looking forward to Cary Fukunaga’s adaptation of Charlotte Brontë's classic. Michael Fassbender is another. As is Fukunaga himself, whose debut feature Sin Nombre revealed him to be a filmmaker to watch.
Posted by Mark Salisbury at 21:01
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Re: Rochester discussions

Post by Admin on Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:41 pm

http://booktalkandmore.blogspot.com/2010/11/jane-eyre-2011-poster.html

Monday, November 8, 2010
Jane Eyre 2011 poster!

I don't think I've ever mentioned the upcoming Jane Eyre film here on the blog - so, there's no time like the present, right? Smile I've been following news about this movie on a couple of period film blogs as well as the film's official Facebook page. Today that page debuted the movie's new onesheet poster, featuring Mia Wasikowska as Jane and Michael Fassbender as Rochester. I absolutely love it! According the IMDB the film opens on March 11, 2011...it will be a dream come true if it actually opens on that date, and that's not a limited release date...but either way, at the rate time is flying the movie will be here before we know it! Any thoughts?

Update:

So, not being familiar with this Michael Fassbender person, I do what any good, obsessed movie fan would do in a case like this...turn to Google image search. Oh. My. WORD. This man is going to play Rochester?! I love this movie already. Smile

Posted by Ruth at 3:47 PM
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Re: Rochester discussions

Post by Admin on Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:43 pm

http://www.filmshaft.com/moody-new-poster-for-jane-eyre/

Moody New Poster For Jane Eyre
Published on November 8, 2010 by Martyn Conterio ·

The Bronte sisters were pretty amazing young ladies – Charlotte and Emily, especially. Both have their classic works up for adaptation again, but we’ll be getting Cary Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre first. Andrea Arnold is busy working away on Wuthering Heights as I type.

A wonderful and very moody poster has debuted on the film’s Facebook page. The lead has been taken by Alice in Wonderland star Mia Wasikowska and expect Michael Fassbender to be all mean and aloof as Mr. Rochester in this Focus Pictures adaptation due in March 2011.

There’s fine support on offer in the forms of Jamie Bell and Judi Dench. If you’ve never read the book – get yourself to a library and prepare to be wowed. And no, it’s not a chick’s book, either but one of the finest stories written in English. One has high hopes for this given the cast and director.

Synopsis:

Based on Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel, the romantic drama stars Mia Wasikowska (“Alice in Wonderland”) and Michael Fassbender (“Inglourious Basterds”) in the lead roles. In the story, Jane Eyre flees Thornfield House, where she works as a governess for wealthy Edward Rochester. The isolated and imposing residence – and Mr. Rochester’s coldness – have sorely tested the young woman’s resilience, forged years earlier when she was orphaned. As Jane reflects upon her past and recovers her natural curiosity, she will return to Mr. Rochester – and the terrible secret that he is hiding…

US Release: March 2011
UK Release: tbc
Australia Release: tbc
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Re: Rochester discussions

Post by Admin on Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:44 pm

http://www.slashfilm.com/2010/11/08/poster-synopsis-cary-fukunagas-jane-eyre/

New Poster and Synopsis: Cary Fukunaga’s ‘Jane Eyre’

Posted on Monday, November 8th, 2010 by Russ Fischer

I’ve always been one who appreciates Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre at arm’s length; it’s a great book, an indisputable classic, but not one for which I’ve got some real passion. So a new film version isn’t something I would expect to be excited to see. Enter Cary Fukunaga, the director of the wonderful Sin Nombre, who shot his verion of Jane Eyre this year.

His film based on the novel is set to release March 11, 2011, with Mia Wasikowska in the title role and Michael Fassbender as Rochester, the man who employs Jane and with whom she falls in love. The film also boasts Jamie Bell, Judi Dench, Sally Hawkins, Imogen Poots, Holliday Grainger and Tamsin Merchant. And now it has an excellent poster, which you can see in full after the break.

Here’s the synopsis posted today, along with the poster, by Focus Features.

Based on Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel, the romantic drama stars Mia Wasikowska (“Alice in Wonderland”) and Michael Fassbender (“Inglourious Basterds”) in the lead roles. In the story, Jane Eyre flees Thornfield House, where she works as a governess for wealthy Edward Rochester. The isolated and imposing residence – and Mr. Rochester’s coldness – have sorely tested the young woman’s resilience, forged years earlier when she was orphaned. As Jane reflects upon her past and recovers her natural curiosity, she will return to Mr. Rochester – and the terrible secret that he is hiding…

It’s the cast that really sells me — Miz Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender seem as ideally suited to the roles as anyone else a director could conjure. And the storytelling skills Mr. Fukunaga displayed in Sin Nombre are a draw as well. That film addressed what could have been a dreary, preachy story with surprising grace and a lively tone. I’m hoping for the same from this film.
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Re: Rochester discussions

Post by Admin on Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:46 pm

http://www.collider.com/2010/11/08/jane-eyre-movie-poster-mia-wasikowska-michael-fassbender/

Poster for JANE EYRE Starring Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, and Judi Dench
by Matt Goldberg Posted:November 8th, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Focus Features has debuted a striking poster for Cary Fukunaga’s adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. The poster lets us know that the movie explores how we all have a Michael Fassbender face inside of us. Actually, it’s a classic work of 19th century literature that explores themes of morality, social class, and love, but I like my interpretation more.

Hit the jump to check out the poster and the synopsis. Jane Eyre stars Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, and Judi Dench. It’s set to open on March 11, 2011.

Poster via the film’s Facebook page.
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Re: Rochester discussions

Post by Admin on Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:43 pm

http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2010/11/jane_eyre_trailer.html

Jane Eyre Trailer: Hello, Mr. Rochester!

* 11/9/10 at 6:00 PM

In Charlotte Brontë's classic Jane Eyre, Mr. Rochester, the heroine's tortured, much older love interest, is not particularly handsome. In the new forthcoming film adaptation of Jane Eyre, Mr. Rochester is played by Michael Fassbender. So, automatically, we know slavish faithfulness is not on the table. But we're not really complaining — have you seen Michael Fassbender? In the film, Mia Wasikowska stars as Eyre, a young, neglected woman who ends up working as a governess on Mr. Rochester's estate, where things are not as they seem. (The trailer assumes audiences are not familiar with the book's lady-in-the-attic plot twist). It's all very Merchant Ivory Gothic — period costumes, a soundtrack full of Sturm und Drang, and dramatic glances — which is exactly as it should be. Plus, a nice bit of dialogue — "Do you think because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless?" — to remind us that Charlotte Brontë could have turned out a decent screenplay if given the chance.
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Re: Rochester discussions

Post by Admin on Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:59 pm

http://www.pedestrian.tv/pop-culture/news/first-jane-eyre-poster-with-mia-wasikowska/26890.htm

First 'Jane Eyre' Poster With Mia Wasikowska November 9, 2010

Any female who ever went to grade nine English class would be well familiar with Charlotte Brontë's influential gender-relations canon Jane Eyre - if not the 1847 text itself then certainly one of the numerous adaptations for film or screen (or CliffsNotes depending on how rock bottom your effort levels were).

The latest big screen remake has young director Cary Fukunaga at the helm (filmmaker behind the wonderful Sin Nobre, 2009) and has elfin Australian actress Mia Wasikowska in the titular role, which will have her join the likes of Joan Fontaine, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Samantha Morton who've played Jane in past adaptations.

Here's the first look at the film poster with Mia looking very 'Jane Eyre':

As any literary geek will attest the central man character, Mr Rochester, is pretty much the ultimate bad boy sex symbol: a brooding, mysterious Byronic oaf with poor communication skills. Swoon. Nailing the sexual tension between Jane and Rochester is essential to the film's success, and I can't wait to see the chemistry between Wasikowska and the latest incarnation of Rochester to be played by Michael Fassbender (Hunger, Inglourious Basterds).

The cast is rounded out by Jamie Bell, Judi Dench, Holliday Grainger, Sally Hawkins, Tamzin Merchant, and Imogen Poots.

Michael Fassbender has been phenomenal in everything he's done of late, but will he match up to Toby Stephens from the 2006 BBC television adaptation? Period fiction is hot.
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Re: Rochester discussions

Post by Admin on Thu Nov 11, 2010 4:27 am

http://rovingreads.blogspot.com/2010/11/jane-eyre-trailer.html

Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Jane Eyre Trailer!
Thanks to Ruth for drawing my attention to this new trailer for Jane Eyre, which is scheduled to be released in March 2011. I'm really liking Michael Fassbender as Rochester (so handsome!) and can't wait for this to come out in theaters!

New York magazine says "it's all very Merchant Ivory Gothic — period costumes, a soundtrack full of Sturm und Drang, and dramatic glances — which is exactly as it should be. Plus, a nice bit of dialogue — "Do you think because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless?" — to remind us that Charlotte Brontë could have turned out a decent screenplay if given the chance." What do you think?

Posted by Roving Reader at 9:09 AM
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Re: Rochester discussions

Post by Admin on Thu Nov 11, 2010 7:52 pm

http://bonjourbanana.blogspot.com/2010/11/banana-reads.html

Thursday, 11 November 2010
Banana Reads

Jane Eyre edition I'm currently devouring

Jane Eyre 2011 Official Film Poster

Finally sinking my teeth into this wonderful classic. Obsession has been unleashed and turned up to the max and from now till pretty much the latest much hyped film adaptation comes out in March next year I am going to drive all my loved ones to absolute desperation with Jane Eyre this and Jane Eyre that...oh well it has to be done really. I'm only a few chapters in and I already love it and can see why it was such a revelation when it was first published. The language is beautiful the tone really dark but romantic at the same time and I have a feeling this is just one of those characters that will have a big impact on me.

With a facebook page to its name which of course I've joined and a newly released first trailer that's doing the internet rounds at the moment gathering momentum and a lot of praise this is one cinematic occasion not to be missed I mean it features Michael Fassbender in some amazing sideburns for God's sake. I've never lusted after a fictional character before but Mr. Rochester might just be the one to turn me.

Check out the official trailer below.

http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1810161778/video/22939910
Posted by BonjourBanana at 18:30
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Re: Rochester discussions

Post by Admin on Thu Nov 11, 2010 7:57 pm

http://rubymarilyn.blogspot.com/2010/11/be-still-my-heart.html

Thursday, November 11, 2010
Be still my heart

The new Jane Eyre trailer is out! You have to check it out. It looks insanely good and they have made me wait so long! After sort of half-seeing a couple of versions of Jane Eyre I actually broke out the book and I LOVED IT. Part of it is of course the time period, the manners, the romance but the thing I really love about this story? It is dark. Like super dark. Ghosts, secrets, and whispers oh my! Also I am a big fan Edward Rochester. He is the classic grumpy but really has a heart of gold man. Also a big fan of film versions casting foxy foxy men in the role. Mr. Rochester is not supposed to be handsome but let's be real, who would watch it? Which brings me back to this new version- Michael Fassbender is going to be playing Mr. Rochester. I am squeaking with excitement just thinking about it. Don't know who he is? You are missing out. See 300 for some amazing ab time. See Inglorious Basterds for some smooth charm. See anything with him in it because he is amazing (note: if you want to see a good movie check out Hunger but be warned that Fassbender gets so scary skinny in it that I was sad for days afterwards). After careful viewing of the Jane Eyre trailer (repeatedly) I am actually torn about how good he looks in it. He has some really tough competition from Toby Stephens from the 2006 mini-series version. I mean damn. The hair, those eyes, that voice. Mmmm. I have never seen him in anything else and I don't think I need to. So bring your A-Game Mr. Fassbender because I will be judging you. (Just kidding I love you forever and always.)

Other good versions of Jane Eyre include the Orson Welles/Joan Fontaine version and the one starring William Hurt/Charlotte Gainsbourg.

You would think I couldn't get any geekier than this could you? Well I can. All I can think of is how amazing next year zombie pub crawl would be if I could get people to dress up with me as Jane, Mr. Rochester, and crazy wife. Would that not be epic? Once again if I find a man who would be willing to wear a period costume that I make him I will marry him on the spot. Now I just have to wait until March for this movie to come out so I can geek out some more!

Michael Fassbender looking dapper. As per usual.

Toby Stephens as Mr. Rochester from the 2006 BBC version

Posted by RubyMarilyn at 10:04 AM
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Re: Rochester discussions

Post by Admin on Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:56 am

http://madisdot.blogspot.com/2010/12/coming-attractions.html

Sunday, December 12, 2010
Coming Attractions!

I'm so excited to see this movie. I never used to like period pieces but it's something about this movie that screams Michael Fassbender. Maybe because he's going to be in it...yeah that's it!

I'm currently reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, and I feel so dumb. It's like every other word requires that I use a dictionary to solve the old-school word riddles. I just started reading the book on Friday, and with me having to work on projects, clean my room, and catch up on sleep; I think me being on chapter 3 is pretty darn impressive.

Hopefully by March 11, 2011 I will no longer feel like an ignorant fool, because the movie and the book seem pretty good.


pic snatched from MF tumblrfan
at Sunday, December 12, 2010
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Re: Rochester discussions

Post by Admin on Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:26 am

Someone has posted a picture list of all the actors who have played Rochester. It's in Spanish, but the pictures are nice.

http://loschicosdelaprincesajazmin.blogspot.com/2011/01/lista-completa-de-los-rochesters.html
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Re: Rochester discussions

Post by Admin on Sat Feb 12, 2011 7:23 am

http://weetiger3.livejournal.com/26828.html

"Ohhh Rochester..." Another Fassbender Post
mood: excited excited

I like my books a little hard boiled, a little rough around the edges, if you will, but if I have to read a ‘romance novel’, I prefer the classics.

I tend to gravitate toward what are known as ‘Byronic heroes’ like Captain Wentworth in “Persuasion” by Jane Austen, Heathcliff from Emily Bronte's “Wuthering Heights”, Dorian Gray from “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde, and Steerforth from Charles Dickens' “David Copperfield.” And then, of course, there is Edward Rochester from Charlotte Bronte's “Jane Eyre”

“Jane Eyre” has been filmed many, many times (the first dates back to 1910) and unlike some other translations of novel to screen, there have been many excellent adaptations, including but not limited to Robert Stevenson’s film from 1943 with Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine as well as Franco Zefferelli’s 1996 version featuring William Hurt and the underrated Charlotte Gainsbourg. Anna Pacquin played the young Jane.

When I heard that there was to be yet another cinematic retelling of this classic novel, my first reaction was to wonder whether or not we really needed one. We just had the PBS/BBC co-production in 2006 with the great Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson (“Luther”). And after the last one that I saw, 1997’s BBC adaptation starring Ciaran Hinds as Rochester and Samantha Morton as Jane, (which in turn followed closely on the heels of the Zefferelli film) I thought ,“That’s it. Hinds is the definitive Rochester. I’m done, show me no more.”

…and then Cary Fukunaga had to go and cast Michael Fassbender. Oh my sweet hell…



Moviefone exclusive clip:




If this scene is indicative of the rest of the movie, then the film will be absolutely pitch perfect. Watch it again…notice the way that they inch toward each other…

(Actual conversation between me and one of my besties:

KB: How did she pull away???? She’s a better woman than me…

Me: I don’t know. I mean, I know it’s acting, but still! A will of iron!

KB: You MUST lean toward the screen, hoping to get to his mouth

Me: Or at least hoping Jane will… I think part of it is that Fassbender doesn't appear to be that much "larger" than Jane and then there’s that voice. You don't expect that voice…

KB: No you don't, but WE knew it was there...)

This is the hottest piece of celluloid that I have seen in a LOOOOOONG time. I can’t stop watching it. And every time I do, I sit here with my mouth agape and my chest heaving with the effort to resume the breath caught in my throat, a hot tickle in my stomach…

TMI? Or the ultimate compliment to the palpable sexual allure of Michael Fassbender, an allure that has heretofore not so much remained hidden, but severely underutilized.

Sure, those of us who are followers of Mr. Fassbender’s work have seen it. We saw it in doomed Esme1, in (again doomed) young Stelios2, in Lt. Archie Hickox3, (What is it with the dying?) There were hints in Connor in Andrea Arnold’s brilliant Fishtank, but while brimming with sexual magnetism, he was at the very least a cad, at worst a predator. It was there in Azazeal from “Hex”, but he was, you know, Satan. (Byronic heroes are supposed to be, like Byron himself “mad, bad and dangerous to know”4, but that’s taking things to an extreme.)

I submit the closest we’ve gotten, to this point, was Thomas Rainsborough in 2008’s mini-series “The Devil’s Whore.” (If in doubt, watch episode 4. It’s on youtube,) but Fassbender fans have never seen him play a romantic hero like this.

We have been waiting for a role like Edward Rochester.

Rochester is stern and not particularly handsome, but he and Jane are kindred spirits. He is the first person in the novel to offer Jane lasting love and a real home. Although he is Jane’s social and economic superior, (men were widely considered to be naturally superior to women in the Victorian period) Jane is Rochester’s intellectual equal and moral superior. He is a true 'Byronic hero'.


The Byronic hero typically exhibits several of the following traits:

* Arrogance
* intelligence and perception
* cunning and adaptability
* suffering from an unnamed crime
* a troubled past
* sophisticated and educated
* self-critical and introspective
* mysterious, magnetic and charismatic
* struggles with integrity
* possesses the power of seduction and sexual attraction
* exhibits social and sexual dominance
* emotionally conflicted, moody, perhaps even bi-polar
* a distaste for social institutions and norms
* is an exile, an outcast, or an outlaw
* disrespect of rank and privilege
* jaded, world-weary
* cynicism
* self-destructive behavior

Three of my favorite actors, Gerard Butler, Tom Hardy and yes, Michael Fassbender can tick off a great many traits on this list, which is undoubtedly part of why I’m drawn to them. In a bit of verisimilitude, Hardy has played Heathcliffe. Butler, the titular role in The Phantom of the Opera, (which although it’s not my favorite among the characters that he has played, it does fit the bill to a tee.) Now Fassbender has Rochester.

Jane Eyre would seem to be an odd choice for wunderkind Cary Fukunaga’s second feature film. His first, 2009’s Sin Nombre, was nominated for and won numerous festival and critics association awards, but nothing about it suggests that its director was ready to deliver a fresh, sexy, nuanced take on a classic of Victorian ‘chick-lit.’

Based on a trailer and two clips, Australian actress Mia Wasikowska looks to become the definitive Jane Eyre. Physically she’s perfect; frail and small one moment, but hinting at an inner strength. Plain enough to appear ordinary and then beautiful with the transforming power of love. She may have a difficult name, but she is one of a crop of current ‘IT girls’, and an extremely talented one. Since appearing as Alice in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, she’s played one of Annette Bening and Julianne Moore’s kids in The Kids Are Alright and in addition to Jane Eyre, she has two other completed films due for release in 2011 and is currently filming The Wettest County in the World with Tom Hardy.

As for Michael Fassbender, I’ve talked about him a lot on this blog. (Hit his tag on the left and the posts will come up.) He is already “obsessed over by cool people”5, and I’d like to think I can count myself in that number. His Rochester will become just another arrow in his artistic quiver. It may not even be the most interesting performance we see from him this year, since he’s already got Carl Jung (David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method) and Magneto under his belt.

Jane Eyre is released in the US on 11 March 2011.

Official site: trailers.apple.com/trailers/focus_features/janeeyre/
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Re: Rochester discussions

Post by Admin on Mon Mar 07, 2011 2:13 pm

http://blogs.indiewire.com/carynjames/archives/2011/03/07/rochesters/

Michael Fassbender and Other Mr. Rochesters: Why So Dreamy?

One thing is certain about Jane Eyre’s Mr Rochester: he was no dreamboat. Try telling that to the people who cast Michael Fassbender as Rochester to Mia Wasikowska’s Jane in the new version arriving Friday.

Charlotte Bronte’s Rochester was not just older than Jane and gruff – an essential part of the plot – he was decidedly not attractive. As Jane herself describes him, he has “stern features and a heavy brow,” and she only feels comfortable talking to him at first because he is not great-looking. “Had he been a handsome, heroic-looking young gentleman I should not have dared to stand thus questioning him,” she says.

But that’s the book. Few filmmakers have dared to go with a truly unappealing Rochester, even though the actresses are turned into plain Janes. Why? Maybe it’s just box-office casting, maybe they don’t trust the audience to recognize how love can make an unattractive man resemble somebody’s dream.

Take a look at some other Mr. Rochesters. Why would Jane ever have resisted, bigamist or not?

TIMOTHY DALTON

More dashing than gruff, here’s Rochester ready to morph into James Bond, from a 1983 BBC miniseries.

WILLIAM HURT

Charlotte Gainsbourg plays the plainest of Janes in Franco Zeffirelli’s lovely 1996 film. But does Hurt look un-handsome? A little goofy, maybe.

TOBY STEPHENS

Carrying on the tradition of good-looking men in very bad wigs, Stephens at least has the Rochester glower in this 2006 miniseries with unglamorous Ruth Wilson.

CIARAN HINDS

That’s more like it. Hinds can be attractive, but not at first glance, as Samantha Morton’s Jane realizes in this 1997 TV version.

I’ll let you know how FASSBENDER works in the new version.

Here’s the trailer, in which he asks, “Do you think me handsome?” and Jane answers, “No, Sir.” Another point: Jane is not meant to be delusional.

Caryn James posted to Books to Movies at 9:30 am on March 7, 2011 |
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Re: Rochester discussions

Post by Admin on Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:26 pm

http://blogs.bbcamerica.com/anglophenia/2011/03/10/as-the-new-jane-eyre-opens-ghosts-of-rochesters-past-haunt-us/

As the New ‘Jane Eyre’ Opens, Ghosts of Rochesters Past Haunt Us
By: Leah Rozen Posted: Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Michael Fassender and Mia Wasikowska in 'Jane Eyre'

When it comes to tortured, self-loathing, sarcastic heroes, it’s hard to beat Mr. Rochester. That would be Edward Rochester, the brooding master of Thornfield Hall, the gloomy manor house in the English countryside where Jane Eyre arrives as the newly-hired governess.

Jane Eyre, the classic 19th century romantic novel by Charlotte Brontë, may be named after its plain and plainspoken heroine, but it’s Mr. Rochester, with his big shameful secret, who dominates the many — at least 18, going back to the days of silent film — film and television adaptations. That holds true for the latest movie version, an astringently spare retelling which opens Friday (March 11).

This Jane Eyre emphasizes the book’s Gothic nature and the sharp verbal sparring between its eponymous heroine and Mr. Rochester. Here, Jane is played by Australian-born actress Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland, The Kids Are All Right) and Rochester by the swoon-worthy Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds), a fast-rising star who was born in Germany but raised in Ireland.

While each gives a commendable performance — Wasikowska’s Jane is smart and not to be toyed with and Fassbender’s Rochester is dashing even as he barks at Jane — there’s a palpable lack of chemistry. Maybe it’s just that so many scenes, and this is a problem in many recent versions, are under-lit to the point of near blackout in an apparent nod to verisimilitude regarding the lack of electricity during the Victorian era.

This new version will likely have a greater impact on Jane Eyre first-timers —especially teenagers who really, really, really want to believe that this Jane and this Rochester are meant for each other — than on audience members making a repeat visit to Thornfield Hall.

Zelah Clarke and Timothy Dalton in the 1983 adaptation

For them, the ghosts of Rochesters past will haunt the hallways. There’s Orson Welles, still skinny (at least for him), in the 1944 film featuring Joan Fontaine as Jane, using his orotund voice to silky seductive effect. There’s gruff George C. Scott in a 1970 TV movie version (opposite the late Susannah York), barging through Thornfield like a bull in a china shop.

More recently, Timothy Dalton, pre-James Bond, played a suave Rochester in an 11-part British TV mini-series in 1983 with Zelah Clarke as Jane. In 1997, a badly miscast William Hurt was a sardonic Rochester opposite English-born actress Charlotte Gainsbourg in a weak film version directed by Franco Zeffirelli. And in 2006, Toby Stephens (Dame Maggie Smith is his real life mom) was a ferociously fierce and yet appealingly tender Rochester (Luther villainess Ruth Wilson portrayed Jane) in a four-part BBC mini-series that aired stateside on PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre.

Want another view of Rochester, a far less flattering one? For Jane Eyre completists, must reading is Jean Rhys’ 1966 novel, Wide Sargasso Sea. It’s a prequel, which tells the tragic story of Rochester’s first wife, who is part Creole and whom he marries while visiting Jamaica. A haunting tale of colonial domination and racial inequality, Sea was made into a lush feature film in 1993, starring Karina Lombard and Nathanial Parker, and into a BBC TV movie in 2006 with Rebecca Hall — it was only her second adult film role — and Rafe Spall (whose real life father is Harry Potter cast member Timothy Spall).

Actors I wish, though they’re now a mite old for the role, would have taken a whack at Rochester: Colin Firth and Alan Rickman.

Who is your favorite Mr. Rochester? Your favorite Jane?

Orson Welles in the 1944 version:

George C. Scott in the 1970 version:

Timothy Dalton in the 1983 version:

Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson in the 2006 version:

Toby Stephens discussing the Rochester role in BBC Breakfast interview:

Trailer for 2006 BBC Wide Sargasso Sea:
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Re: Rochester discussions

Post by Admin on Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:14 pm

http://suddenviolentcomedy.blogspot.com/2011/03/in-which-i-want-to-bash-my-head-against.html

Guess what snuck up on me? "Jane Eyre" coming out in theaters. I could have sworn it was at least a week from now. I'll be seeing it either this Friday or sometime next week. I've heard it's good, so that's exciting. I wonder if Michael Fassbender is going to replace Toby Stephens as my favorite Mr. Rochester. I've seen some pictures and Fassbender seems to look the part, but the trailer really doesn't show how he acts the part. I heard that this movie starts kinda far into the story (I think it's where Jane's with her cousins) and the earlier stuff with Mr. Rochester and Thornfield are done through flashbacks. I've also read that there'll be a scene that's more erotic than in the novel–I'm guessing they mean like that scene in the 2006 Masterpiece Theater version when Jane finds out Rochester's secret and is leaving him, where they're pretty much having sex. Something weird: I dislike slightly the fact that the girl who played Alice in "Alice in Wonderland" is playing Jane. I have no idea why I don't like it. I have no reason to dislike it. Anyway, I'm going into this with an open mind. Oh, and I'm excited to see "The Adjustment Bureau." My mom saw it and said it was good. It looks to me kinda the Jason Bourne trilogy, but we'll see.
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Re: Rochester discussions

Post by Admin on Sat Mar 12, 2011 3:56 am

http://ofcourseofcourse.com/blog/?p=812

Um, I Don’t Remember Mr. Rochester Being All…Hot.

My mum’s favorite book ever is Jane Eyre, which I barely remember, plot wise. It sort of melds together with Wuthering Heights and The Secret Garden in my mind. Anyway, I just watched trailer to the new movie starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender because I thought, “Oh, that might be cool to watch with Mum soon.” Dudes, thank God I checked out that trailer first because it looks like this film is the uh “arty” interpretation with a few steamy sex scenes thrown in. It’s bad enough considering watching this movie while having a lady boner for Fassbender; but seeing him get his freak on with random corseted ladies in the moors with your mother sitting next to you is just…wrong.
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Re: Rochester discussions

Post by Admin on Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:42 am

http://blog.merriehaskell.com/?p=16

In honor of the new Jane Eyre movie…
March 25, 2011

Here’s my problem with film adaptations of Jane Eyre:

Mr. Rochester is supposed to be UGLY. My textual evidence: let me show you it.

I knew my traveller with his broad and jetty eyebrows; his square forehead, made squarer by the horizontal sweep of his black hair. I recognised his decisive nose, more remarkable for character than beauty; his full nostrils, denoting, I thought, choler; his grim mouth, chin, and jaw–yes, all three were very grim, and no mistake. His shape, now divested of cloak, I perceived harmonised in squareness with his physiognomy: I suppose it was a good figure in the athletic sense of the term–broad chested and thin flanked, though neither tall nor graceful.



“You examine me, Miss Eyre,” said he: “do you think me handsome?”

I should, if I had deliberated, have replied to this question by something conventionally vague and polite; but the answer somehow slipped from my tongue before I was aware–”No, sir.”



He rose from his chair, and stood, leaning his arm on the marble mantelpiece: in that attitude his shape was seen plainly as well as his face; his unusual breadth of chest, disproportionate almost to his length of limb. I am sure most people would have thought him an ugly man; yet there was so much unconscious pride in his port; so much
ease in his demeanour; such a look of complete indifference to his own external appearance; so haughty a reliance on the power of other qualities, intrinsic or adventitious, to atone for the lack of mere personal attractiveness, that, in looking at him, one inevitably shared the indifference, and, even in a blind, imperfect sense, put faith in the
confidence.

And yet, Hollywood (okay, the BBC, really) persists in portraying Mr. Rochester with the only the handsomest men who ever handsomed. Like Toby Stephens.

Toby also happens to be Dame Maggie Smith’s son. I don’t know how being Professor McGonnigal’s son makes someone more attractive but it so totally does.

Toby as Rochester

Toby in another costume drama

Also, don’t you think Toby should totally play Damian Lewis‘s brother sometime?

Actually, I lied. Hollywood does an okay job at not finding the handsomest men who ever handsomed for the rest of the Rochesters. But they have yet to find anyone actually ugly for the role. I think Orson Welles comes closest:

The forehead is so right! And he’s not… chiselly. The way Toby is. And his eyes are skeery.

I disapproved of moon-faced Ciaran Hinds in this role, though I’m looking at the pics and thinking: you-gly.

I mean, seriously, especially compared to the hotness that is Ciaran Hinds as Caesar and Captain Wentworth:


Ciaran as Rochester.


Really hilariously ugly Ciaran as Rochester.

Quick! Antidote! Caesar!

And a pint of Wentworth, stat!

And William Hurt is far too blond and placid-looking. And let us not speak of Timothy Dalton. He was up there way past Toby Stephens in the classically handsome land, though not personally to my taste.

So I started to really think: what DID Rochester look like? John C. Reilly?

Nah. I probably only think that because of Orson Welles.

Mr. Rochester was Charlotte Brontë’s weird mish-mash of (certainly) her youthful fantasies based on Lord Byron and (probably) the married man she fell in love with while at school in Brussels, Constantin Heger (also, her teacher). The physical descriptions of Heger and Rochester are pretty much a match, and Heger didn’t mind reducing Charlotte to tears in the course of teaching her, which, okay, somehow fits with Rochester in my mind.

This was Constantin Heger:

So. Rochester is basically built like a wrestler, or… something. And looks like Heger. Ish. So….

(And people think Toby Stephens oversneers.)

Yes, that’s professional wrestler Hunter Hearst Helmsley.

I am SO going to literary purgatory.

So how does the new Rochester stack up? I will have to let you know.
a little fair for my tastes

Michael Fassbender as Rochester

His eyes are too light, but he’s got a certain devilish gravitas, just from the picture. Still: not ugly. Not even weird looking.

So, what do you think? Who’s your Rochester? Have you seen the new movie yet, and if so, how’d they do?
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Re: Rochester discussions

Post by Admin on Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:06 am

http://www.austenauthors.com/2011/04/who-is-your-favorite-mr-rochester.html

4/01/2011
Who is YOUR Favorite Mr. Rochester?
With soooo many versions of Jane Eyre, is it even possible to pick a favorite? Let's look at some of the contenders.

Do you like the smooth voiced Orson Welles, who drove the nation to panic in the 1938 radio broadcast of “War of the Worlds?”

Perhaps you like the General Pattonesque George C. Scott, whose adaptation I have yet to get up the nerve to watch because I just don’t think he’s attractive.

What about the failed 007 persona of Timothy Dalton (who also tried to portray the other Brontë hero Heathcliff as well as an American hero named Rhett Butler in “Scarlet”)?

There is the mild mannered, unemotional William Hurt. Nuff said.

How about Ciarán Hinds, who portrayed a captain in “Persuasion,” written by some other lady.

Then there is my favorite, Toby Stephens, although I have not yet seen the new movie starring Michael Fassbender. I’ll let others speak up for his performance.
Tobey Stephens

Oh, there are others, but I have no idea who Colin Clive is (good first name, though), Richard Leech (very bad last name), or Michael Jayston.

Each probably has some pros and cons. We want to hear YOUR thoughts of the Mr. Rochester of choice, so speak away! But, if you are a writer and plan to take on this fine literary hero then please heed the advice of our own Heather Lynn Rigaud and carefully consider the following---

Writing Love Scenes Using Characters with Third Degree Burns

For an author, verisimilitude is of critical importance. If our characters, settings and situations are not believable, we lose our readers ability to suspend their disbelief. Bronte authors face special challenges when dealing with 'the charred one'. IN these instances it is especially important to use a delicate touch. However, love flowers in the most unusual of places, so major, life-threatening injury should not stand in your way of writing dreamy, romantic love scenes.

Don't:
*Use any imagery involving heat or fire. No Burning, Smoldering, or Fiery displays of passion, please.
*Use too much detail in describing Rochester's skin or wounds. Remember: Oozing is not sexy. Neither is blackened or scarred. Or smoking.
*Use any sort of pain-as-pleasure imagery. There's a time for rough sex, this isn't one of them.

Do:
*Use a lot of cooling imagery. Jane is probably freezing on that drafty moor, so make use of it.
*Play up the fact that Jane is small and gentle.
*Remember that Rochester is blind during much of his early marriage, so beautiful visions of Jane in her wedding finery are right out.
*Make use of non-touching activities, such as conversation, reading or needlepoint.

Bear in mind that Rochester and Jane did managed to produce at least one child during the process of his healing, so let your imagination guide you to what that might have been like. It's important to be aware of the limitations of 19th century medicine, when there were no burn units, no skin grafts and no antibiotics. Recovery would be a long, difficult and painful process- but don't let that stop you from writing scenes that will have your readers swooning.

Best of Luck with all your Combustible Writings!
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Re: Rochester discussions

Post by Admin on Sat Apr 02, 2011 1:53 am

http://www.heroesandheartbreakers.com/blogs/2011/04/team-heathcliff-or-team-rochester

Apr 1 2011 3:00pm

Team Heathcliff or Team Rochester?: Choose Your Favorite Bronte Hero
Elizabeth Kerri Mahon

Timothy Dalton as Heathcliff in Wuthering HeightsYet another reason to be glad there's a new version of Jane Eyre: a good excuse to pledge our allegiance. Because when it comes to the Bronte sisters, most people are either on Team Rochester or on Team Heathcliff.

On the surface, Rochester and Heathcliff have a lot in common: Both are dark, brooding men with secrets who do questionable things, both fall in love with women of a different social class.

But on closer examination, there is one big difference between the two men: Heathcliff, as far as I'm concerned, is a dick or a demon—take your pick.

I know there are women out there who will disagree with me, who think that Heathcliff and Cathy are soul mates, but Cathy picks conformity and safety in the form of Edgar Linton over the passionate, animalistic passion she feels for Heathcliff. Whatever! Heathcliff is not only verbally abusive to Edgar's sister Isabella, whom he marries after Cathy dies, but he also takes out his anger on a whole new generation, including his own son, at which point I was done with both Heathcliff and the book.

Merle Oberon and Laurence Olivier as Heathcliff and Cathy

Somewhere Over the Rainbow...
I don't mind my hero being tortured; I do mind him being sadistic. As far as I'm concerned, Cathy should have gotten the Victorian equivalent of a restraining order. Cathy and Heathcliff have this weird co-dependent thing going on that would make some psychiatrist rich. They can't be together, but they can't be apart, so they ruin other people’s lives in the process. Ick!

I used to think that my feelings about the book were colored by the fact that I saw the film version of Wuthering Heights with Merle Oberon and Laurence Olivier as a kid long before I read the book. The 1939 film is lushly romantic, and out of all the Heathcliff's I've seen (apart from maybe Ian McShane), Laurence Olivier looks like he could be that gypsy child grown up. The chemistry between him and Merle Oberon is tangible and the scene where he carries Cathy to the window when she is dying is heartbreaking.

And then I read the book and I felt gypped. The Heathcliff in the book was a sadistic asshole who tortures puppies. Yes, I said puppies. And no matter how many delicious actors play the role (Timothy Dalton, who's been both Rochester and Heathcliff on through Tom Hardy), or how many times I reread the book, my opinion never falters: Heathcliff is definitely not a hero.

Michael Fassbender as Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre

Representin’ Team Rochester Very Well
Rochester, on the other hand, treats Jane Eyre like an equal; he's genuinely interested in what she has to say. And he's a single dad; despite not even knowing if Adele is his, he takes her in and hires a governess to teach her.

I'm not saying that he's perfect, there's the little matter of having a wife tucked up in the attic. Some people seem to have a problem with that, but hey, at least he didn't commit her to an insane asylum which would have been far worse. The insane were contained like animals at a zoo; asylums like Bedlam in London were tourist attractions. There was no real attempt at treatment. Nor did he arrange a little 'accident' for her. And yeah, okay, committing bigamy is not very heroic, but in his defense, he loved Jane and wanted to make her his wife. He knew enough about her character to know that she would never accept being his mistress. It all would have worked out if that wretched Richard Mason hadn't showed up and ruined everything.

When Jane leaves, Rochester lets her go; he doesn’t follow her and force her to change her mind. I read a review of the new film where the critic called Rochester creepy. Really, compared to the puppy torturer? Jane and Rochester are soul mates; you root for them to get together in the end. I’ve always felt that they actually have a chance to be happy together, whereas Heathcliff and Cathy would only have made each other miserable, in between the hot sex.

When it comes to a choice between a potential bigamist or puppy torturer, I’m Team Rochester all the way!

Speaking of Mr. Rochester, Focus Features' 2011 Jane Eyre is slowly rolling out in theaters across the country—once you've seen it, come share your thoughts at our review post, I Came, I Saw, I Swooned: Thoughts on Jane Eyre.
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Re: Rochester discussions

Post by Admin on Thu Apr 07, 2011 5:20 pm

http://booktalkandmore.blogspot.com/2011/04/why-we-love-mr-rochester.html

Thursday, April 7, 2011
Why we love Mr. Rochester

I am thrilled to welcome my friend Rachel from a Fair Substitute for Heaven to the blog today as my first guest blogger for my All Things Jane celebration! Rachel and I "met" last fall when we both served as judges on the historical fiction panel for the inaugural INSPY Awards. Since then we've discovered a shared appreciation of things like Siri Mitchell and Lynn Austin novels, the television show White Collar, and ROCHESTER (to name a few).

I was so excited when Rachel accepted my invitation to write a Jane Eyre-themed guest post - and when she said "give me a post that is ALL ABOUT ROCHESTER!" - I said go for it. Smile I couldn't be happier with the result - when she sent me this article yesterday I loved it so much I read it four times in a row. And then I was overcome with terrible pangs of jealousy because I wish I'd written this myself. *wink* Enjoy...


Face it ladies, we love us some Rochester. He is the epitome of the brooding Byronic hero sparking reincarnations from Angel in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series to Edward in the notoriously disturbing Twilight phenomenon. His miscreant past, dark and enigmatic demeanor and total infatuation with Jane (not to mention his ability to call to her across the moors) make him one of the most resounding heroes of that ever-so-heroic-19th Century. If you’re a female of the imaginative, bookish sort then, at one point or another, some form of Rochester has been your literary leading man.

Rochester (and his ilk) possessed my brain in teenage-hood through my early university years. For years, it was Bronte or Bust. Every hero I fell for: from Neil MacNeil in Catherine Marshall’s Christy, Paul Emmanuel in Charlotte Bronte’s (I would argue) better and more autobiographical, Villette, Dean Priest of the Emily of New Moon trilogy by LM Montgomery( read her journals: she was a MASSIVE Rochester fan---even going so far as to write Rochester into Dean) were Rochester-esque heroes with dark, hovering thoughts just waiting for heroines to draw light from the vapid recesses of their bleak centers.

Why do we sit through fabulous adaptations of Jane Eyre ( including the 2006 Toby Stephens version---which remains my personal favourite and the recent Michael Fassbender) and the not-so-fabulous Jane Eyres (the awkward Orson Welles, to the acting-so-hard-to-brood-I-scare-myself Timothy Dalton, to Ciaran Hinds bellowing his way through the 1998 screen treatment) in hopes of catching yet another glimpse of a character so often reincarnated and so steeped into the literary cultural consciousness?

Well, for one, who doesn’t want a hero who bemoans: “Why did you waste your tears on that callously, cold stoop when you could have had my shoulder” (or something drippingly romantic like that…. ?) We are infatuated with Rochester’s Jane-infatuation. From the moment he arrives on ebony horse near stormy, crumbling Thornfield, to the earliest conversations that pry secrets by candlelight out of Jane’s direct glances, we know that we have reached a partnership of equals. Rochester challenges Jane; he covets her thoughts and yearns to penetrate her mind to extract what she thinks of him.

For a gender that spends the better part of our lives discussing what his “signs” meant and whether he will call on Day 3 or 4 and what did his picking up the cheque mean and “ do you think he thinks this makes me look fat?” and having friends log into his facebook profile (you know… the usual)…. having Rochester spend the better part of his connection with Jane bafflingly attempting to unravel her utmost core is a welcome opposite--- a pleasant reprieve.

Plain Jane she may be; but Rochester is besotted nearly from the beginning.

Is it not interesting to note that the same title that sits listlessly on the top of Works of Great Female Fiction is also known to reduce women to sappy romanticism? Can we really pair our viewing of Jane Eyre as a proto-feministic work that speaks for women’s independence, self-worth and value while still falling hard for the hero who inspires her to pen: “Reader, I married him”, leaving her days of independent willfulness behind? ABSOLUTELY--- because this is a marriage of equals.

Rochester inspires hope for the besotted Bookish gal: a rich, tortured man with means and connections who could have had (and has had) his pick of the most beautiful women recognizing that his true self yearns for his soul mate: a willful governess whom he deems his intellectual equal.

Jane attests that her love for Thornfield stems from her feeling of equality and asserts: “I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom ,conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave,and we stood at God`s feet, equal-as we are……” We want equality, gals: in relationships and out of them. Women still make 75 cents to every dollar a man makes. We see that while Nicholas Cage can play a romantic lead, only the thinnest, most toned heroines can grace Hollywood’s celluloid screens. Equality is sexy and brooding, enigmatic, puzzling, perplexing, demanding and problematic Rochester seems to view Jane on his level. It allows room for our own frailty and shortcomings. It inspires us to yearn for something that doesn’t require us to put our make-up on or regret that extra brownie or feel guilt about that body pump class we missed.

The 19th Century male was circumscribed to believe women were naught but lowly, fallible creatures prone to hysterics who should never be out of reach of their smelling salts… ha! Rochester fell for Jane and Rochester proved it wrong.

Jane Eyre is the tough chick’s love story and Rochester, all scarred and swarthy, with deep belting voice and a rather ungentlemanly past, is the perfect tough chick foil.

Most of all, he allows us to believe that we can find our ultimate happy ending….simply by being our opinionated, self-conscious and problematic selves.

Thanks again, Rachel, for joining in my celebration of All Things Jane. WELL SAID. Long live Rochester and Jane! Smile
Posted by Ruth at 5:43 AM
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Re: Rochester discussions

Post by Admin on Sat Apr 09, 2011 2:55 pm

http://14shadesofgrey.wordpress.com/2011/04/09/jane-eyre-movie/

“You examine me, Miss Eyre, do you think me handsome?”
April 9, 2011

And I had to fight the urge to answer, “Yes, I do think you handsome, because you’re Michael Fassbender and not Mr. Rochester.”

When I first heard about the casting for the newest adaptation of Jane Eyre, I wasn’t so sure. Mia Wasikowska… eh, OK. Michael Fassbender is a fine, fine man, but that’s the problem – he’s too young and too handsome to play Mr. Rochester. Jamie Bell is too young and not handsome enough to play St. John. Sally Hawkins is too young and kind-looking to play Mrs. Reed. Judi Dench is a little too old and not kind-looking enough to play Mrs. Fairfax (aren’t there any other old British actresses left?) I could go on and on and on.

Mr. Rochester he’s not. *sighs dreamily* Very Happy

Then I saw the trailer, and I felt a little more confident, mostly because the movie looks great, so I was willing to give it a try. So, finally, this Thursday, I went to see it.

I should have listened to my first instinct.

The movie isn’t bad per se, but it’s… I don’t know, blah. Is it because for me there is one and one version only of Jane Eyre, and that’s the 1983 one with Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke? True, Timothy Dalton is too handsome to be Mr. Rochester too, but at least he has that dark, brooding look. Michael Fassbender is just… pretty. I guess my problem with this version lies mostly in the casting, because I don’t buy any of those actors as the characters. It gets a little better toward the end of Act 2, with the proposal and the discovery of Bertha Mason (by the way, Bertha? Too pretty and not crazy enough.)

But then when Jane comes back at the end, you know how Mr. Rochester is supposed to be all disfigured? Nope. None of that. They just gave him a beard and some milky contacts. So he looks part hobo, part Jesus. I know his being disfigured is not that important here, because that’s where the movie ends and Jane and Mr. Rochester never talk about St. John and how he compares to Rochester and how Jane still wants to stay with Rochester no matter what (but then again, Jamie Bell cannot compare to Michael Fassbender.) But come on! He was consumed by fire! At least give him a scar or something. It’s like they’re afraid of making him ugly.

Can’t blame them though.

Oh, but the movie did do one thing that at first I found jarring, but on second thought, I rather liked: it cuts out the entire thing about the Rivers being Jane’s cousins. They’re just a kind family who take her in, so when she inherits her money, she shares it with them. I like it, because in the book, this has always been the part that annoys me (and not just because St. John is such a douche) – it’s too big of a coincidence that she just happens to stumble upon her long-lost relatives.

All images courtesy of Enchanted Serenity of Period Films.
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Re: Rochester discussions

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 10, 2011 12:56 am

http://forizzer69.wordpress.com/2011/04/09/analysis-of-a-performance-michael-fassbender-in-jane-eyre/

Analysis of a Performance: Michael Fassbender in “Jane Eyre”

April 9, 2011 at 11:55 pm (Analysis of a Performance, Film Talk (Lists and Discussion))

If you don’t know, 2011 is going to be the year of Michael Fassbender. He’s got plenty of films coming out — consisting of a leading part in X-Men: First Class, another collaboration with Steve McQueen (Hunger), the lead role in David Cronenberg’s latest where he plays Carl Jung and a large part in Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire — in addition to the recently released Jane Eyre. Although I’ve liked him a good deal in the past — good performances in Inglourious Basterds and Angel coupled with two great ones in Fish Tank and Hunger – I’ve never been overly fond of the actor. To give you more perspective in albeit a goofy and inconsequential way, I’ve never personally nominated him for any of his work in my personal lineups. In fact, he’s never really come close.

Though with Jane Eyre – a feature that isn’t quite as good as the sum of its parts – Fassbender has finally worked with a director who — and I don’t mean to take any credit away from Tarantino, McQueen or Arnold — knows how to fuse his performer with his atmosphere to get as perfect as result as possible. Fassbender’s Rochester isn’t so much more an acute understanding of the character or even a more intelligent one than past performers, but how Cary Fukunaga shoots him and essentially works the film around the man’s presence accentuates Fassbender’s great work to a glorious level. Where he looks mysterious and ruminative during his second encounter with Jane, Fukunaga places Fassbender uniquely by a fireplace which casts a fascinating shadow on Fassbender’s countenance. His naturally ponderous look is given greater depth — his looks which could have been interpreted as mere lust or a simple fascination with an inwardly brilliant girl become tenfold more intriguing because the atmosphere the actor is immersed earns our immediate fascination with the man. His dialogue, while rather harmless, becomes a point of interest with the breaks he takes in between words; breaks which are filled with a cryptic score and breaks which he uses to move around in with each subtle movement being its own point of interest. He isn’t just thinking about this woman in a superficial way like many men of the day would – he is overcome with deep thought about the treasures that Jane Eyre possesses, yet his intention with her are an enigma from the start. It’s Fassbender’s natural temperament that hints to viewers that he’s pure of heart and madly in love with the girl, but Fukunaga’s direction veils this and keeps those who are not familiar with Bronte’s text wondering what will happen next. What’s even better about this is the director doesn’t try to confound or aggravate viewers with tireless — or worse, unnecessary — questions about whether or not Rochester’s falsetto is false; it’s an earnest undulation that is key to understanding why Jane is so drawn to Rochester, as well as making the meat of the story (which is undeniably the mystery of the man) far more appetizing.

Unfortunately this is also one of the film’s great drawbacks. While the story of Jane Eyre was of great fascination when first published and for many years afterward, it is difficult to really engage those familiar with typical narrative structure in an intellectual way. Jane Eyre’s emotional makeup is rather basic — she was raised without love, made further emotionally destitute by being brought up in an oppressively oligarchic setting, had love during that time and lost it, and has sought to regain such a complete feeling ever since — and though it is a sincerely drawn portrait of those times and certainly more thoughtful and kind toward the mind of a woman needing love (unlike many romantic features of today) it also lacks a real concern for the titular character. She is enamored with Rochester, yes, and her past is sordid, yes, but for someone who can’t relate to her struggles on a basic level this is just a finely plotted study of a woman’s relationship with love made better by how the director plays up how she sees the one she loves. It gets us in the mindset without actually having the mindset and I think that’s the most important goal in telling a story. Fukunaga does overplay his hand at times — for example, he applies a rigorous backdrop and crude lighting to the scenes where Jane is beaten as a child as most filmmakers to do when they REALLY WANT YOU TO GET THAT IT IS A BAD THING — but for the most part his atmosphere is beautifully baroque, yet disquieting in composition; if not for how he shoots Rochester then for how he manages scenes without a palpable rhythm. The best example of this is the scene where Richard Mason appears at Rochester’s home. That extra hesitation before Rochester says “Lets go to the study” to Mason offsets an eerie, off-beat vibe in their interaction despite the fact that they are old friends. Another great example is where the scene where Rochester’s room is caught on fire and Jane saves his life is without any kind of heroics or histrionics, but rather a strong sense that something is amiss. There’s a constant air of mystery looming above all things Rochester, and when he isn’t present Jane is left with one of despondency; one which I feel encapsulates the exact feeling of longing for the one who makes your life complete and an atmosphere which Mia Washikowska lets overcome her in a delightfully delicate performance of her own. The two transition into each other seamlessly and neither really strives to be what it is. The mystery is a real mystery — not a Hitchcockian manifestation — and the tragedy is tragedy — not a Hollywood tearjerker — and because of this Fassbender’s performance is thoroughly human with the director intelligently skewing him to make him a real world fascination.

Although it is quite early in 2011, I feel entirely confident in saying that Michael Fassbender’s performance as Rochester will go down as one of the year’s finest. To speak with a bit more weight, if this were released last year Fassbender’s performance would be my favorite in the supporting actor category – easily surpassing each of the Academy’s five nominees – and only being rivaled by Dominique Thomas’ performance as Bluebeard in Bluebeard for that “prestigious” honor.
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Re: Rochester discussions

Post by Admin on Fri Apr 22, 2011 5:32 pm

http://www.goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110422/ENTERTAINMENT0702/304229982/-1/ENTERTAINMENT05

Published: April 22, 2011 12:01 AM EST
Updated: April 21, 2011 7:15 PM EST
Michael Fassbender puts his stamp on the latest 'Jane Eyre'
By KENNETH TURAN, Erie Times-News
Los Angeles Times

The book is called "Jane Eyre" but when it comes to its numerous movie versions, whether it's Orson Welles in 1944 or Michael Fassbender right now, the actor playing Edward Rochester often ends up with the lion's share of the attention.

That's because the brooding master of Thornfield in Charlotte Bronte's 1847 novel is one of literature's archetypal romantic heroes, a complex and troubled individual who is sensitive, poetic and, as Lady Caroline Lamb famously said of Lord Byron, "mad, bad and dangerous to know."

A part like that is catnip for performers who can play the rogue male, and Fassbender swallows it whole.

He's a German-born Irish actor who is about to break big with roles in the next X-Men movie, a Steven Soderbergh thriller and "Prometheus," Ridley Scott's "Alien" prequel. Fassbender energizes not just his scenes with Mia Wasikowska's accomplished but inevitably more pulled-back Jane but this entire film.

Bronte's romantic novel of a young governess engaged in a classic struggle for equality and independence has, as noted, been filmed a lot: One count lists 18 theatrical feature versions plus nine telefilms. But it's not always had a director with as much of a flair for the five-alarm-fire dramatics of its plot as Cary Joji Fukunaga.

As his first film, the Sundance success "Sin Nombre," demonstrated, Fukunaga is an intense, visceral filmmaker with a love for melodramatic situations.

His no-holds-barred style is more successful here than in his debut because the necessity of working within the boundaries of Bronte's narrative provides just the right amount of structure to showcase his talents.

One of the shrewd choices Fukunaga has made is to emphasize the natural gothic aspects of the story. Thornfield, where much of the action takes place, is an old dark house after all, and expert cinematographer Adriano Goldman beautifully captures both the building's candlelit spookiness and the desolate beauty of the surrounding Derbyshire countryside.

Fukunaga has also invested heavily in the film's physical details, working with his production team, including production designer Will Hughes-Jones, art director Karl Probert, set decorator Tina Jones and costume designer Michael O'Connor to create a period world where even the badminton equipment looks fearsomely authentic.
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