Dakota Fanning will star in the Victorian drama Effie, a biopic of famed English critic John Ruskin and his loveless marriage to teen bride Euphemia Gray. Emma Thompson penned the script, and Deadline reports that Richard Laxton will direct.
Fanning will play a young woman in 1950s London married to Ruskin and trapped in a strange marriage. Ruskin apparently never consummated his marriage to the attractive Effie because he was disgusted by her body. After five years of of emotional abuse from her in-laws and the strange relations with her husband, Effie falls in love with her husband’s artist protege, John Everett Millais.
Greg Wise (Sense and Sensibility) is set to play Ruskin, and Tom Sturridge (Pirate Radio) will be Millais. Thompson not only penned the script but will also play the role of Lady Eastlake, Effie’s mentor and protector. Production will start this October in Scotland, London and Venice.
Fanning, now 17-years-old, is taking on quite a grown-up role in Effie. The story will no doubt delve into deep emotional issues and have its share of physical/sexual scenes and discussion. Fanning will be playing the teen bride of an older man, and in a strange marriage that might have elements of perversion if not emotional abuse, so the actress will be taking on a lot for her age. After seeing her in the recent role on Twilight, I’m not sure she’s up to the task.
Apparently this project has been in the pipeline for some time. Filmmakers have been trying to get Effie made for over five years. Thompson’s script, according to a producer on the film, gets to the heart of Victorian England. I’m not sure what may become of her script under the direction of Laxton, who’s only got one film under his belt and has done mostly TV but we’ll have to see how this one turns out. It sounds somewhat promising and it will be interesting to see Fanning in the role.