Brit helmer plots a hipper 'Heights'


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

Maybury will find his own Heathcliff and Cathy for a feature film version of the novel by Emily Bronte off a script by Olivia Hetreed ("Girl With a Pearl Earring"). But he said he has no plans to do 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," Maybury said.

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" and two films from Julian Jarrold, "Becoming Jane" and the upcoming "Brideshead Revisited."

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

Maybury most recently directed "The Edge of Love" starring Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller and Cillian Murphy. His other credits include "The Jacket," with Knightley and Adrien Brody, and "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.

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

Added HanWay CEO Tim Haslam, "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 worked together on "Becoming Jane" and "Brideshead."