Hall-of-Famer John Madden announced his stunning retirement earlier this year, leaving the NFL without its most famous ambassador for the first time since before cavemen could paint on walls, but Variety is announcing that he has come out of retirement to apparently direct the remake of My Fair Lady, which is based on a 1956 play starring Julia Andrews and Rex Harrison (itself based on a musical called Pygmalion) that was later turned into the first theatrical version starring Harrison and Audrey Hepburn. The remake will star Brett Favre as Eliza Doolittle. Brett Favre will also play the part of Henry Higgins. He’ll play every part, really. The title of the film will be changed to Brett Favre is Brett Favre. At the end of the film, the cast of Brett Favres will be so overwhelming that it will cause the celluloid to spontaneously combust.
(Puts hand in ear John Stewart style) What’s that? Not that John Madden? It’s the John Madden who directed Shakespeare in Love? Oh… Well, that’s a let down. I was really hoping to see John Madden use his telestrator to diagram the film. But the other John Madden isn’t a bad choice either. The problem with the film is that the information is changing daily; it’s in a real state of flux, so perhaps it’s pertinent to note that Madden is merely in talks at the moment. There were reports that Joe Wright (Atonement, The Soloist) was to direct the remake, but he immediately contradicted those reports mere days later. Danny Boyle, Baz Luhrmann, and Stephen Daldry have also been mentioned as potential directors. Kiera Knightley has often been cited as the actor most likely to play the part of Eliza Doolittle. However, Madden is under no contractual obligation to keep her. Knightley better hope that she can do Cockney really well.
I don’t actually know where John Madden has been during the intervening years since Shakespeare in Love, which was a really interesting and classical story: the kind of film that plays upon the conventions of the story that it documenting. Apparenty he has done three films since then, none of which I’ve heard of (maybe this is my deficiency): Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Proof, and Killshot. Another film starring Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, and Sam Worthington, The Debt, is planned for 2010. He has worked with some big stars (Nicholas Cage, although he’ll do anything, Penelope Cruz, Anthony Hopkins, Christian Bale, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Mickey Rourke), so I’m surprised I haven’t heard much of any of these films. I’m guessing that they didn’t blow the world away. Madden will definitely get noticed for a My Fair Lady remake, however, either way.