‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’: St. Vincent to Direct Female-Led Film Adaptation (EXCLUSIVE)

Picture of Dorian Gray St. Vincent

Lionsgate has launched development of a movie based on Oscar Wilde’s 1890 novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” Variety has learned exclusively.

The studio is putting a twist on the classic Victorian age story of a hedonistic man whose self-portrait ages while he stays eternally young. In this project, the title character will be a woman.

The film will be directed by Annie Clark, a.k.a St. Vincent, the experimental rock multi-instrumentalist. Her album, the self-titled “St. Vincent,” won the Grammy for Best Alternative Album in 2015. She has been the recipient of the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award and the Q Maverick award, both given for outstanding innovation in the arts.


Film Review: ‘XX’

She made her filmmaking debut at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, where her short “Birthday Party,” premiered as a part of the female-driven “XX” horror anthology. She co-wrote, scored and directed the film, with Melanie Lynskey, Joe Swanberg and Sheila Vand starring. “XX” became available on Netflix in March.

David Birke has been hired to write the script. Birke wrote Paul Verhoeven’s thriller “Elle,” starring Isabelle Huppert. He also co-wrote the upcoming “Slender Man” horror film from Screen Gems, and is currently adapting the crime thriller “Alex” from Pierre Lemaitre’s novel.

Wilde’s original “The Picture of Dorian Gray” was the only novel he ever published. The story has been the basis of multiple movies with MGM’s 1945 version becoming the best known. That film starred Hurd Hatfield, George Sanders and Angela Lansbury, who received an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress.

Birke and Clark are both repped by Paradigm. Birke is managed at Madhouse with legal at Hansen Jacobson. Clark’s legal is at Counsel LLP.


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  1. The Nuclear Witch says:

    Gender-swapping has officially “jumped the shark” with today’s announcement of a Dorian Gray remake with the titular male character being replaced (of course) by a woman. Question is, is this just lazy Hollywood shilling, or do women really think they’re getting over by constantly remaking male IP as female? After all, if women really are as equal (and I’m guessing “superior” is more like it) as they think they are, why the need to steal from men?
    Aren’t women capable of coming up with interesting female characters on their own, or do they require the sure-thing crutch of using an established male character and putting their own pink stamp on (and invariably ruining) the product?

  2. peterwellington@gmail.com says:

    One (mediocre) short film and she’s offered a studio film?! Melissa Silverstein must be excited.

    • Talon Harris says:

      Watch the movie then watch any review of xx, and they will tell you while over all the movie is bad the birthday party segment is easily the most abysmal. Seriously she doesn’t heave near the talent to firstly handle adapting the source material and secondly handle changing the the story to fit the sensibilities of a gender bent protagonist, and thirdly generally make a worthwhile piece of visual media. She should stick to music.

  3. John says:

    Sounds interesting!

    She’s not the first musician doing a feature: Before there was RZA, Madonna, John Maclean, Bob Dylan, David Byrne, Beyoncé, Flying Lotus, Dwight Yoakam, Dave Grohl…and some more.
    You could count actor-musicians like Barbra Streisand, Jared Leto and Johnny Depp, too.
    Sean Combs just did a documentary.

    Just google ‘IMDB+Musicians & Composers directing films’.

    I think, it’s great that so many non-traditional filmmakers from different backgrounds now start doing films. They bring fresh ideas and new perspectives. Think of Tom Ford, Julian Schnabel or Anton Corbijn. Or David Leitch, who was a stuntman, before starting to direct himself.

    This is how Hollywood stays young & fresh – by getting fresh blood from different fields.

    And it’s attractive for producers, too, because through the rights to their music, they have bargaining power: If they get the gig, you get a great soundtrack & a built-in fan base.

    Sooner or later we have a masterpiece.

    • Talon Harris says:

      the music business needs to stay fresh and young, they should have authors get in the studio and start recording. The doesn’t make sense. To be a good director with a love for the film making medium. Look at st Vincent’s filmography. Watch interviews with her about her short. It is fairly obvious she isn’t that. If she is allowed to film this project it’s going to suck no doubt.

    • Talon Harris says:

      Seriously watch her segment in XX it’s called birthday party, st Vincent is not a non traditional director, she’s just a bad director.

  4. Dorian says:

    Wait… They’re making a gay story into a straight story by during Dorian into a woman? :/ Wtf

  5. Jeffrey says:

    Funny, in her new song “New York” she makes reference to selling out to Hollywood.

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