'Wuthering' finds its Heathcliff in Fassbender

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At least half of the casting crisis facing John Maybury's "Wuthering Heights" has been solved in the wake of Natalie Portman's sudden decision to pull out of the headline role of Cathy.

Ecosse Films, the production house run by Robert Bernstein and Douglas Rae that is producing the film, said they have secured Michael Fassbender for the lead role of Heathcliff.

Fassbender stars in Steve McQueen's "Hunger," which kicked off the Un Certain Regard sidebar here Thursday.

Bernstein described the Heathcliff role as "one of the most powerful and iconic romantic roles" in cinema.

Finance and sales company HanWay is repping the title for sales here.

Portman's exit last week left financiers, sellers and producers rattled just days ahead of the fest. HanWay Films said May 9 that it was hoping to have a replacement for Portman "within days."

Written by Olivia Hetreed, who also undertook the adaptation of "Girl With a Pearl Earring," the new "Wuthering" plans to steer away from "the stuffy costume drama" format. (partialdiff)
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