Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Reel People: Ben Whishaw is John Keats

The film is Bright Star. Bright Star is written and directed by Oscar winner Jane Champion (The Piano).

John Keats
John Keats was born in 1795 in London, the son of a stableman. At the age of 7, John's father died of a skull fracture caused from falling off of a horse.

John was one of four siblings, and although his mother remarried, she left her second husband, and moved herself and her four kids to live with John's grandmother after his grandfather died in 1805.

In 1810 John's mother died of tuberculosis, leaving him and his siblings in the care of his grandmother who hired two guardians to take care of the children.

John went to become a surgeon's apprentice, and after a fight with his teacher, he left in 1814 a became a student at Guy's Hospital (now part of King's College London). There he began a strong interest in literature and devoted himself to study. As well as to the writing of poetry.

When John's grandmother died, be became entrusted to the care of his brother Tom, who was also suffering of tuberculosis like his mother. John went away on a trip with his friend Charles Armitage Brown to Ireland and Scotland, and when he returned from his trip his brother's sickness had progressed further and Tom died shortly after (December 1, 1818).

It was around this same time that John Keat's epic poem Endymion based on the Greek mythology about Endymion a Shepherd loved by Selene, the moon goddess. His work received harsh criticism and was said to depress him and limit his writing.

John went on to move in with the family of his friend Charles Armitage Brown. While at the Brown's he had a chance to meet and fall in love with Fanny Brawne, the Brown's neighbor.

Little is known about this relationship, partly because Keats requested all the letters Fanny Brawne wrote him be destroyed upon his death. But letters that Fanny wrote to John's sister Frances were later discovered and published.

In 1820 Keats began to show serious signs of Tuberculosis and his doctors recommended he leave the cold of London, and so in the name of health Keats left the Brown's home as well as Brawne while he went to Italy on September 16, 1820 with his friend Joseph Severn, an English painter.

John's sickness got worse, and Severn found himself playing the role of John's nurse. John Keats died at the age of 25 on February 23, 1821.

Bright Star

The film Bright Star is to focus on the final years of Keat's life, specifically his relationship with Fanny Brawne during Keats time in Hampstead, London.

Ben Whishaw plays the part of John Keats, while Abbie Cornish plays Fanny Brawne. Paul Schneider plays Charles Armitage Brown and Samuel Barnett plays Joseph Severn.

The films title is derived from the Keats sonnet "Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art."

Ben Whishaw has been largely aplauded for his acting skills, in film like Perfume: Story of A Murder and as one of the principal incarnations of Bob Dylan in I'm Not There. Yet this is really one of his first lead roles that could attract the attention of the Academy and critics and potentially lead to some increased recognition.

Will Whishaw's portrayal of this famous and tragic poet earn Whishaw an Oscar nomination/win for portraying this
Real (Reel) Person?

1 comment:

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