Gustave Flaubert’s classic novel, Madame Bovary, is coming once again to the big screen, and Variety reports that Laura Carmichael, who plays Lady Edith in “Downton Abbey,” Oliver Gourmet (“The Son”) and Logan Marshall-Green (“Prometheus”) are the latest to join the cast. Carmichael has been cast as Henrietta, Gourmet will play Monsieur Rouault, and Marshall-Green takes on the role of The Marquis.
The rest of the cast includes Mia Wasikowska (“Alice in Wonderland”) in the title role, Ezra Miller (“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”) as Léon, one of Madame Bovary’s lovers, Paul Giamatti (“Sideways”) as Monsieur Homais, Rhys Ifans (“The Amazing Spider-Man”) as Monsieur Lheureuse and Henry Lloyd-Hughes (“Anna Karenina”) as Charles Bovary. Sophie Barthes (“Cold Souls”) directs, and the screenplay adaptation was written by Barthes and Rose Barreneche.
Published in the 1850s, “Madame Bovary” tells the story of the beautiful farm girl Emma Rouault who marries a country doctor, Charles Bovary, in order to escape into what she hopes will be a more luxurious, glamorous world. But life as a country doctor’s wife isn’t at all like the kind of romantic life she’s read about in books, and so Madame Bovary begins taking a series of lovers, in a tragic search for her elusive version of love and romance.
Madame Bovary was one novel I somehow missed reading during my years as an English major. Initially published in serialized form, Gustave Flaubert was actually tried, and acquitted, for obscenity as a result. Being quite the scandalous read, it of course became a bestseller.
The author AS Byatt had this to say about the character of Emma Bovary:
… if Emma Bovary – who is small-minded and confused and selfish – is tragic, it is not in a romantic way, and not because her readers share her feelings or sympathise with her. Our sympathy for her is like our sympathy for a bird the cat has brought in and maimed. It flutters, and it will die.
This isn’t the first time Madame Bovary has been adapted; there have been several film, mini-series and made-for-TV adaptations, and it’s also been made into an opera. It’s easy to see why the novel has attracted so many adaptations in different media: it’s quite a compelling tale. And this upcoming adaptation definitely has a star-studded cast to go with it!
Have you read Madame Bovary? Seen any of the previous adaptations? What do you think of this new adaptation? Let us know in the comments below!