Arnold reaches ‘Heights’

'Fish Tank' director to take on Bronte classic

British helmer Andrea Arnold has signed on to direct Ecosse Films’ adaptation of Emily Bronte’s classic novel “Wuthering Heights.”

Move is a coup for producers Robert Bernstein, Douglas Rae and Kevin Loader, who have seen a number of cast and director changes.

Helmer Peter Webber ankled the project in December, while previously attached director John Maybury left last summer. The cast has also been on something of a merry-go-round, with Natalie Portman, Abbie Cornish and Gemma Arterton all attached at one point to play the iconic role of doomed lover Cathy.

Bronte’s novel follows Cathy as she is forced to choose between her passionate love for Heathcliff and her well-meaning husband.

Arnold’s decision to board the project, which has been developed with the support of Film4 and Tessa Ross, will likely give it the impetus to go into production by spring. The helmer has emerged as one of Blighty’s most acclaimed young auteurs following her first two features, “Red Road” and “Fish Tank.”

Arnold, who previously has written and directed only material she’s written, will direct Olivia Hetreed’s adaptation of Bronte’s novel and will emphasize the youthful, teenage aspect of the protagonists in the original source material.

“Andrea has previously said that the only book she would ever direct would be ‘Wuthering Heights,’ because of the passionate, impossible love story at its center and its elements of class divide,” producer Robert Bernstein told Daily Variety. “It’s a very lucky coincidence for us that we’ve found each other.”

Hanway Films is handling international sales.

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