Maybury reaches for new 'Heights'

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LONDON -- British director John Maybury will take on one of English literature's most famous properties after signing up to direct a new big screen adaptation of "Wuthering Heights."

Maybury will take on the task of finding his very own Heathcliff and Cathy for a big screen version of the novel by Emily Bronte from a script by Olivia Hetreed ("The Girl With A Pearl Earring"). But he says he plans to steer away from a stuffy costume drama adaptation.

"It is my intention to do justice to the complexity, darkness and intensity of the original source material, steering our adaptation away from conventional British costume drama." said Maybury.

The movie is backed by Robert Bernstein and Douglas Rae's Ecosse Films, the banner behind a slew of movies including John Madden's "Mrs. Brown," Julian Jarrold's "Becoming Jane" and the much-anticipated upcoming "Brideshead Revisited" directed by Jarrold.

London based sales and financing powerhouse HanWay Films will handle worldwide sales and plans to introduce the project to distributors at the forthcoming European Film Market in Berlin.

Maybury most recently directed "The Edge of Love" with Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller and Cillian Murphy and his previous credits also include "The Jacket" with Keira Knightley and Adrien Brody and the award-winning "Love is The Devil" starring Derek Jacobi.

Bronte's novel details the intense and elemental love story between the rich Catherine Earnshaw and a foundling brought from the slums of Liverpool named Heathcliff.

Cathy is forced to choose between her childhood friend and the wealthy son of the local gentry and her choice is seen by Heathcliff as a terrible betrayal.

Bernstein said he thought "Maybury will bring a provocative edge and modernity to a book which is regarded as the high point in English romantic literature."

Hanway CEO Tim Haslam, tasked with selling the project to buyers from around the world, said: "The eternal popularity of the book shows that this is what people want to see and we believe this story will continue to captivate 21st century audiences."

Ecosse and HanWay have previously worked together on "Becoming Jane" and "Brideshead Revisited". Casting is now underway, the duo said.
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