Martin Scorsese Has FURIOUS LOVE For Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton!

We all know Martin Scorsese is a huge connoisseur of classic cinema and I wouldn't be surprised if he has seen every film Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton made together, knowing all of them intimately - every beat, every line of dialogue and the background to each in a scholar-esque, academic fashion. Outside of his personal documentaries about film like the 4 hour love letter to Hollywood with 1995's A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies, Scorsese has surprisingly very rarely let his love for the cinema of yesteryear touch any of his films head-on, except of course in sections of The Aviator where in something of a frenzy he threw Ava Gardner, Jean Harlow, Errol Flynn, Katherine Hepburn etc at us. Though Paramount have just won a bidding war to acquire a property that could change all that. Deadline say the studio have acquired the rights to Furious Love, a non-fiction book from Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger that was published last year about the legendary and very public topsy/turvy romance between Taylor and Burton as a directing vehicle for Scorsese, who will also produce via his Paramount-based Sikelia shingle. Julie Yorn, Gary Foster and Russ Krasnoff of Krasnoff Foster Productions will also produce having already secured a rights agreement with Burton's estate, including a deal with his widow Sally Hay Burton to allow the filmmakers the opportunity to use his library as a resource. As for Taylor, it's a little more complicated as the actress sadly passed away in March and perhaps the family will be sensitive about an attempt to make a movie out of her life when they are still in mourning. However it should be noted that the late Taylor did make available a ton of love letters Burton had wrote to her over the years to be included in the book she was clearly supportive of and I imagine the estate will know if she would have backed a film version too. A film which you just wouldn't believe if somebody tried to make it into a fictional piece with made up characters... Sparks flew on the set of the most infamous film of all time Cleopatra (a film could be made about that troubled production and unlikely success alone) where they fell in love with each other despite both being married to other people (Taylor herself had just started her FOURTH marriage). Over the next 12 years as their passionate romance became every tabloid's obsession, they would marry each twice and then divorce each other twice and would become the most famous couple in the history of film. A screenwriter has yet to be hired but whomever does get the job will have a huge task on their hands to tell the Burton/Taylor story in a 2 hour and a half max feature film. Paramount are said to have beaten Oscar-winner Natalie Portman (I can't imagine she was wanting to star in this herself, so probably only as producer and perhaps to direct) and what appears to be a separate bid from David Seidler, who won an Oscar for writing The King's Speech. Perhaps he was bidding with the idea he could once again get Colin Firth interested, this time to step into Burton's shoes? Ironically, Furious Love was passed on 100 times by studio execs when initially shopped around by the author's representatives. How a death in Hollywood can change everything. As for when this fits in with Scorsese's schedule - well he's currently in the editing room on his first 3D film Hugo Cabaret (out in November) and locked in as his next film is the 17th century Jesuit priests drama Silence with Daniel Day-Lewis that films next year. Then we should remember he has already accepted Lars Von Trier's challenge to remake Taxi Driver as a series of short films for a new The Five Obstructions which he needs to fit in sometime in-between and he's also been working on his gangster version of The Expendables with Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel titled The Irishman that he has promised them he will make. And finally, he is also developing a Frank Sinatra biopic. And those are just the movies we know he is serious about making (there's probably a hundred others he is loosely attached too). Furious Love, if Scorsese ever does get around to it, won't be for a good few years.
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Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.