And this is how you do that. You get two awesome Brits to make the biopic of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor and you simply call it Burton & Taylor. What you don’t do is get some washed up kid who wouldn’t know a British accent if she hit it with her Porsche and snorted it. Burton and Taylor simply deserved better.
Helena Bonham Carter plays Liz to Dominic West’s Richard and hopefully people will get to see one of the world’s first onscreen super couples. I’m a fossil (compared to the kid in the Elvis Costello glasses next to me) and I remember the edges of the Taylor/Burton years. I was a kid but they seemed endlessly fascinating with their tans and their cigarettes and their booze and their weird PDA on boats in France.
Forget Duran Duran, this couple was hungry like Virginia Wolf in the 80s, throwing shit at each other in boozy displays, divorcing and then remarrying and then cheating on each other, all in the public eye.
Taylor was heartbroken over the death of her third husband after his passing. Still, that didn’t stop her from stealing her best friend’s husband, Eddie Fisher. Debbie Reynolds, Princess Leia’s mom, still cracks jokes about it and eventually forgave Taylor.
Taylor would later ditch Fisher for Burton with the Vatican publically condemning their hook up as they were both married at the time. She would divorce Burton after 10 years of marriage, only to remarry him for another 16 months then divorcing him again. It’s not lost on me that Liz Taylor stayed married to one dude for 10 years. Burton deserves a Purple Heart, posthumously, because Liz was mos def cra cra.
So you see, Brad and Jennifer did not invent the public breakup. Nope. Two English people with fierce appetites for a rainbow of emotions had already locked that down.
And all the while, Taylor and Burton were damn good actors. They were riveting together probably due to their volatile natures. Actors can only dream of this kind of chemistry.
The BBC Four drama is directed by Richard Laxton (Him & Her) as well as writer William Ivory (Common as Muck) will premiere on BBC UK this year and BBC America in 2014. Can’t wait.
Watch the trailer judge for yourself: