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How Many Biopics is Liz Going To Get? 

Late last year Lindsay Lohan did her best Elizabeth Taylor for Liz & Dick on Lifetime though by all accounts her best wasn't very good. Now BBC is getting in on the action with the far more respectable Helena Bonham Carter as the movie star of movie stars. This will be Helena's most challenging role in a good long while, don't you think? [More after the jump...]

Helena as Liz & Liz as Liz; she did love her caftans!

The BBC biopic with the slightly classier but no less imaginative title of "Burton & Taylor" takes place in 1983 when the famous tumultous lovers were doing "Private Lives" on stage to much press fascination.

I kind of wish they'd stolen New York magazine's 1983 headline (pictured left) and called it "The Liz and Dick Show" but maybe people would think it a remake of Lindsay's telefilm?

This is the third Liz biopic but curiously all of them have been television films or miniseries instead of features. Liz first received the TV treatment in 1995 while she was still very much alive starring  Sherilyn Fenn (who looked the part better than anyone else has) in her short-lived post Twin Peaks fame and Angus MacFadyen as Burton.

You can see the trailer for the new bio below which co-stars Dominic West as Richard Burton. It doesn't give you much sense as to how this will play as a telefilm but at the very least we get Helena doing a pretty good Liz bray with that "god no" when she's asked if she's read the play she's agreed to perform. 

Do you think you'll ever watch it?

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Reader Comments (22)

I just love anything where actors get to throw crystal liquor bottles at a wall! lol

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

David-I can't tell if you're kidding or not, but I'm totally onboard. Wouldn't you love to have occasion to do that just once in your life?

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

How Many Biopics is Liz Going To Get?
-> a 111 :) and thus become friends with Bildo Baggins in old age.

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterYavor

letters of note has the fantastic letter burton wrote taylor after their first marriage broke up. if only all exes worshipped as he did...

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpar3182

Oh boy. TV biopics are catnip for me. This had me at "Love is a Drug" playing. West and HBC are quite talented and capable performers, even if neither really quite looks like them but there are moments in that little clip that feel pure Taylor.

I loved that Sherilyn Fenn one although as a fan of Twin Peaks (too young to have watched it at that point in my life), it is weird to think that Ray Wise (aka Mr. Palmer) played one of her husbands in that.

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

Liz appears to comment on Nathaniel's " at the very least we get Helena doing a pretty good Liz bray": "I DON'T BRAY!"

I'll probably never come to truly love Dominic West for my own random reasons, but yay Helena. Of course I'll watch.

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew K.

I may have to check this out when it comes to Netflix in a year or so. I'm not all that interested in the subject matter, but this looks like a good opportunity for scenery chewing from a couple great actors.

It's been so long since HBC has had a meaty, leading role where she wasn't a caricature (ignoring the fact that Liz herself could be a caricature). I will always be a fan of Dominic West, even though he's never had a platform as great as The Wire (seriously: Johnny English Reborn?). At this point, his best hope is to age into a great character actor a la latter-day Richard Burton.

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterW.J.

Nothing can top the "I'm bored! I'm so bored!" scene from the Lindsay movie.

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

I'm so happy to see HBC in a role where she can look glamorous. About time. In the trailer she doesn't seem to quite have the oomph and energy of Elizabeth Taylor, but I hope the experience of searching for that inner energy sets Helena off in a different direction, playing meaty dramatic parts for beautiful women.

Dominic West looks really good as Burton. I hadn't realized West had done so much stage work, but that adds a nice dimension for this role.

As for Liz not having read "Private Lives", I guess knowing and having worked with the author, Noel Coward, was one of the reasons they chose that particular play, and maybe she just thought she would play it as being part of Noel's world.

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteradri

Martin Scorsese has said he wants to work on a film about the love affair of Elizabeth and Richard. That is the one I want to see., however he has many films in the works that it might not be for a long time but Scorsese try's to make a film whether documentary or feature every year and sometimes two in a year. He has WOWS, Silence, The Irishman and The Frank Sinatra film coming up.

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEoin Daly

Dominic fits the part well... Helena is a good actor though, I'm not concerned about the look so much.

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBia

I wish they would let Taylor rest in peace for at least a decade or so. She was a great actress and star as well as a mesmerizing train wreck. All we seem to be getting is the train wreck and I find that sad and rude.

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHenry O.

Definitely a move up from the C-list to the B-list. I'm happy for HBC. She'll get to wear great clothes and wigs, and look like she takes a bath every once in a while. ;-)

HBC & Dominic West, Hell yes I"ll watch! Since they're only covering one specific time period instead of multiple years like the Lohan travesty it stands a much better chance of being entertaining too.

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Let's see if HBC knows her way around a drumstick. But her recent film work leads me to believe that she will play Liz as a cartoon and not a real human being. Sigh.

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Please tell me Scorsese isn't looking to cast Leo as Richard Burton...

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I'll watch as many Liz biopics as they can churn out--have you read Furious Love? It's a hell of a story--but I am waiting for that one, big-budget version with a heavyweight as star, maybe Kate Winslet, to see what can be done with such amazing source material.

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHans

If the Martin Scorsese film happens I'd love to see Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig play this iconic duo, but either way this film is definitely an upgrade from the dreadful Lohan vehicle. I usually don't care if the actors aren't identical to their subjects but I don't really get "Liz" from HBC and a part of it is because she doesn't resemble her at all to me. Still, as you mentioned, there are moments in the trailer where she seems to be getting it right so here's to hoping she can capture the spirit of who Liz was and make me see past the lack of a physical resemblance (same for West).

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterthefilmjunkie

jennifer lawrence would make a great liz taylor. i think she kinda looks like liz.

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterrafael

Hans---Helena Bonham Carter >>>> Kate Winslet.

Really nice to see HBC stepping out of her comfort zone. She currently has five projects in various stages of production and none of them have anything to do with Tim Burton.

July 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike M.

HBC playing Liz?! I'm so IN it's not even funny.

And yeah, thank god for something out of her comfort zone. MOAR. Quick, get her on the phone with Kathryn Bigelow, Abbas Kiarostami or someone!

July 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark The First


July 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHelen Sharp

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