'Wuthering' fright: Portman bows out of project

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John Maybury's adaptation of "Wuthering Heights" is facing a casting crisis after Natalie Portman pulled out of one of the main roles.

Her exit has left the film's financiers, sellers and producers in limbo just days ahead of the Festival de Cannes, where the movie is due to be sold.

Finance-sales company HanWay is still planning an aggressive campaign and hopes to have a replacement for Portman "within days" in the role of Cathy.

Ecosse Films, the production house run by Robert Bernstein and Douglas Rae, is producing the film.

Local media reports put the smart money on a British replacement for Portman.

Written by Olivia Hetreed, the adaptation plans to steer away from "the stuffy costume drama" format.

Emily Bronte's novel revolves around the intense love story between the rich Catherine Earnshaw and a foundling named Heathcliff. (partialdiff)
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