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The envy of lady bookworms everywhere, Mia Wasikowska, continues down her path of portraying beloved literary heroines by signing on to Sophie Barthes' adaptation of Gustave Flaubert's steamy classic Madame Bovary. The sparkling ingénue, whose played in Jane Eyre and Alice in Wonderland, will star as Emma Bovary, a young beauty who impulsively marries a small-town doctor to leave her father's pig farm far behind. But after being introduced to the glamorous world of high society, she soon becomes bored with her stodgy mate, and so seeks excitement and status outside the bonds of marriage. There's no word yet on who will play her husband or lovers, but Paul Giamatti is presently attached to play Monsieur Homais, a pompous apothecary who is a friend to the title character's cuckold, yet an unexpected ally to the willful Emma.
Barthes and Giamatti memorably teamed up to create the 2009 comedy Cold Souls, where the curmudgeonly leading man played a beleaguered—but hilarious—version of himself. In the film, Giamatti feels exhausted by the weight of his soul, so when a magazine article advertises soul storage, he reluctantly tests it out. When his soul is literally lost he goes on a globe trekking adventure that involves soul smuggling, a demanding soap opera star, and the Russian mob.
Inspired by a peculiar dream, Barthes wrote the Cold Souls script with Giamatti at the center. After happenstance led to the pair crossing paths, he gamely read her screenplay and in short order offered to produce and star. The results are a remarkably funny and affecting film that was ultimately--and unfairly--maligned for superficial similarities to the works of Charlie Kaufman.
Barthes created an imaginative and sophisticated blend of humor and pathos in Cold Souls, so I'm eager to see what she'll do with the tale of Madame Bovary. Variety reveals her adaptation will be a period piece that remains true to its source's plot, but insists the screenplay by Rose Barreneche emphasizes "more youthful and contemporary themes." I can't help but wonder/hope if this means more sex, and less shame.