Jeremy Northam could still be Henry Higgins…

26 May

So, we now know that Jeremy Northam is not packing his bags and heading for LA to make more episodes of Miami Medical. It may be that he’s considering a mountain of scripts right now, he could be holidaying his wotsits off somewhere luxurious, or he could be catching up on his ironing, who knows? Maybe he’s already committed to another project, but if he’s not…then he’s available for playing Henry Higgins! Yes, let’s shake the dust off what we thought was a lost opportunity and consider it anew…

Carey Mulligan is to play Eliza Doolittle

The last we heard, Carey Mulligan had been cast as Eliza Doolittle, following Keira Knightley withdrawing from consideration. Mulligan seems to be the young Brit actress du jour, with the Oscar nominated  An Education amongst her recent credits. Mulligan is no Audrey Hepburn in terms of her looks (who is?), but she is an excellent actress and I look forward to seeing her in the role.

Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker

The other, more worrying, news associated with this project was that Hugh Grant had been approached to play Higgins. Emma Thompson, who has written the adapted screenplay, was reported to be very keen on his inclusion. Grant himself appeared to be filling his pants while making the obligatory humble noises that constitute his career. The man needs the work, there’s no getting away from that fact, but charity casting, while it might have a certain horrific fascination, is not really the best way to make a successful movie. I mean, seriously…HUGH GRANT????

The film version of My Fair Lady from 1964

Of course, Rex Harrison made the role of Higgins his own both on stage and in the 1964 film version, and when you think of Harrison, the idea of Grant becomes even more ludicrous. Higgins, whoever interprets him, needs to have a commanding presence and be convincingly an intellectual. The actor who takes on the role must have a natural authority available to him, a finely tuned comic touch (okay, maybe Grant can manage this aspect), he must convince as a romantic lead (which Harrison really never did, being too old by the time he played the role on film), and he needs to be able to sing. ‘But Harrison couldn’t sing’, I hear you cry. True, and if you examine the sheet music, in fact many of the songs for Higgins allow him to speak rather than sing some of the time. Grant may well be able to hum a little, but can he be convincing as an intellectual, or indeed as a romantic lead? I think not… Hugh Grant may be many things, but the sad truth is, he’s really not much of an actor.

Jeremy could be patiently waiting for your call, Emma, you never know...

No, the obvious choice has to be Jeremy Northam for the role of Higgins. I don’t even need to spend time explaining why beyond reminding you of what an exceptionally gifted and versatile actor he is. So, Emma Thompson and team, get in touch with Jeremy’s agent now, because you might just find he’s available. I can’t speak for his willingness, but I do know it’s a peach of a role for him and it would avoid your movie becoming a terrible train wreck. Allow Hugh to be Col. Pickering (Wilfred Hyde White bumbled in this role very successfully in 1964) and he’ll be happy, and more to the point, you’ll have the makings of an excellent movie.

by henrysmummy2003

7 Responses to “Jeremy Northam could still be Henry Higgins…”

  1. Elsie May 26, 2010 at 5:41 pm #

    That would be perfect casting! Jeremy as Higgins and HG as Pickering. Honestly, I’d see that movie every week for a year. lol

  2. Bess May 26, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

    I am with you on this, though I think you might be being a tad harsh on poor Hugh. He certainly isn’t in JN’s league, but he is a very good comedian. I do agree, he would be wonderful as Pickering, although it will be hard to get Wilfred Hyde White out of my head, he did such a wonderful job.

    Also I think Carey Mulligan is an admirable choice, well-done Emma T.! I like to think that Emma would be happy to consider JN as Higgins, they have worked together before after all, so she knows his talents.

    And I know that JN would do a wonderful job with the talking-singing role. Don’t know whether Carey Mulligan can sing, but it seems most well-trained British actors seem to be able to manage it to some degree of success.

    I remember years ago, Jeremy Irons did a recording of My Fair Lady with the soprano Kiri Te Kanawa, and he was amazing, did a lot more singing than Rex Harrison, but pulled off the role quite well, I thought. I know JN will pull it off even better, if he gets the chance.

    • henrysmummy2003 May 26, 2010 at 9:54 pm #

      True, Bess, I am a little harsh on Hugh, because I believe so passionately in Jeremy’s rightness for the role, but I think even Hugh is unsure of his ability to carry the role of Higgins convincingly, and his days as a legit box office draw are long gone.

      I’d love to hear Jeremy Irons as Higgins, I haven’t heard that version.

      For me, Jeremy Northam has all the attributes necessary for this role and even more, he is a good enough actor to make the role convincingly his. If he wants it, that is. Jeremy, if you’re looking in: for the love of Betsy, if they call, say yes!

  3. LauraP May 26, 2010 at 11:39 pm #

    Yes! C’mon, Jeremy! You know you want to be HH. Could be that role you’ve been looking for . . .


  1. Tweets that mention Jeremy Northam could still be Henry Higgins… « The Jer Blog, all about Jeremy Northam -- - May 26, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sheila Littleton FCD and Gill Fraser Lee, Gill Fraser Lee. Gill Fraser Lee said: Could Jeremy Northam be Henry Higgins? New blog post: Please RT, thanks. […]

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