It’s been an absolute age since I heard anything about the planned Robert Burns film that Gerard Butler was being linked with, and the last word was that it was dead due to lack of funding.
That may have changed though with this year’s Scottish Homecoming, an event made to draw more tourists, ex-Scots and Scottish descended people into the country. It seems that a Scottish Government backed drive for funding is going to finally see the film made, and with a little thanks to the drawing power of Butler.
Word is that the Burns biographical film is to start shooting this year, and that Gerard Butler is still on the cards to play the great Scottish poet Robert Burns, although once upon a time Producer and Scottish actor James Cosmo revealed that Johnny Depp was lined up to play the great man, something that the Scots audience just wouldn’t take.
The script for the film was written by Alan Sharp who also wrote Rob Roy and The Osterman Weekend. It’s Rob Roy though that is the most interesting film in that list, for it’s the infamous story of Robert Roy MacGregor living and fighting against the English in the highlands of Scotland in the 1700’s, and although some of the casting left a lot to be desired, it was was a pretty good story.
Vadim Jean still seems set to direct the film, you might have heard his name before as he directed the two Terry Pratchett films Hogfather (Filmstalker review) and The Colour of Magic.
Now with Gerard Butler playing Burns in a story Sharp wrote, directed by Jean, we could be seeing something interesting. However if this is a straight story of the Scottish poet and writer then I don’t know if it’s going to be as successful a film as one might hope, perhaps if it uses poetic license to bring to life some of his adventures in the mind’s eye then we’ll see something more interesting.
Mind you I am biased, being Scottish I would love to see something decent to immortalise Burns in film, as does the Scottish First Minister according to The Times through Digital Spy (who again don’t link to the source):
“Robert Burns is rightly regarded as Scotland’s favourite son…It would be great for Scotland if Burns could be immortalised in modern film, particularly as we mark the 250th anniversary of his birth this year and celebrate his genius through Scotland’s Year of Homecoming.”
Well of course, that would rake in the tourists for this Homecoming year that’s been set up. For those already in Scotland though, I’m sure there’s just a real desire to see this done right.
Apparently the story will focus on the love affairs with his wife, Jean Armour, and an Edinburgh society hostess called Agnes McLehose or sometimes Clarinda.
The article also tells us that most of the five million pound budget is already there, finally, however the rest is being raised by some two hundred and fifty investors who will provide a sum of money each in order to see the film made, and hopefully return a profit.
However this isn’t the only Robert Burns story to hit the screens just now, Travis A. Jackson has written and is directing two films about the man, The Bard: The Story of Robert Burns – Volume I and II in 2010 and 2011. There’s no word on how well they are going or who the star will be, but the projects will be covering the same story of Burns’ life.
Great news is that it will shoot on location in Edinburgh and in Burns’ Ayrshire. Now take note, I’m in Edinburgh, so if production does begin on the film I’m looking for a set visit at least!
What about Butler for Burns? I think it’s a foregone conclulsion what everyone thinks, but is he a good choice? Actually let me answer that, if he still is on board he’s the best choice there is. Strong Scottish actor, well known around the globe, looks the part, what more could you want?