Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Bonham Carter and West as Taylor and Burton

Can Helena and Dominic do justice to Elizabeth and Richard?

Wed, Jun 5, 2013, 22:18


It says something about the continuing appeal of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor that the first image of two actors playing them in an upcoming TV biopic is something you just have to see. We have, of course, already had a recent TV film on this subject. But nobody took that thing with Lindsay Lohan and Derek Somebloke remotely seriously. In a rather neat outbreak of complementariness the first flick was called Liz & Dick and the second is titled Burton & Taylor. It sounds like an interesting project. William Ivory’s script focusses on a period in the 1980s when — then separated for the 147th time — they came together for a stage production of Noël Coward’s Private Lives. That play concerns a divorced couple who discover they are honeymooning next door to one another with their new spouses. One hardly needs to point out how tasty are the delicious parallels. Good trooper Helena Bonham Carter and Wire-man Dominic West do the honours

We should offer those actors thumbs up for their lack of vanity. Both are a deal younger than Liz and Dick were at this stage in their careers. Then again, who wouldn’t want to be associated with such forces of nature? You couldn’t say either looks much like the relevant personality. But they’re both cracking actors and I fully expect them to pull it off. Burton & Taylor will be with us sometime next year.