Principal photography is underway on locations across London and at Ealing Studios on “Dorian Gray”. Based on Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, Oliver Parker directs and Barnaby Thompson produces from a screen adaptation by rising talent Toby Finlay who provides a modern edge to Wilde’s great classic.
Fresh from his success in “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” hot British actor Ben Barnes takes the lead as Dorian Gray and is joined by Colin Firth (Mamma Mia, St Trinian’s, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Love Actually) as the charismatic “Henry Wotton”. The actors are reunited in “Dorian Gray” after working together earlier in 2008 on Stephan Elliott’s “Easy Virtue” for Ealing Studios.
Joining them in the cast line-up are Ben Chaplin (Me & Orson Welles, The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep, The New World, The Thin Red Line), Rebecca Hall (Frost/Nixon, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Prestige), Rachel Hurd-Wood (Peter Pan, Perfume), Finoa Shaw (Tree of Life, Harry Potter, The Black Dahlia), Emilia Fox (Flashbacks of a Fool, The Virgin Queen), Maryam D’Abo (The Living Daylights, Helen of Troy), Pip Torrens (Easy Virtue, Valiant), Douglas Henshall (The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones, Primeval), Caroline Goodall (CSI, Schindler’s List), Michael Culkin (Shanghai, Rome, Mrs Henderson Presents), as well as exciting new acting talents Johnny Harris (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Atonement, London to Brighton) and Max Irons (Being Julia).
When a strikingly beautiful but naïve young Dorian (Ben Barnes) arrives in Victorian London he is swept into a social whirlwind by the charismatic Henry Wotton (Colin Firth), who introduces Dorian to the hedonistic pleasures of the city. Henry’s friend, society artist Basil Hallward (Ben Chaplin) paints a portrait of Dorian to capture the full power of his youthful beauty and when it’s unveiled Dorian makes a flippant pledge: he would give anything to stay as he is in the picture – even his soul.
Dorian’s wild adventures continue, but soon he notices that his portrait, which is now locked away in the attic, has taken on an evil and disturbing air, while his own beautiful face goes unmarked by his deeds. Forced by his own evil actions to flee the country, Dorian returns twenty-five years later. To the surprise of his old friends, he looks exactly the same but he’s jaded, having found pleasure but never happiness and he’s haunted by the monstrous painting in the attic. His fear and paranoia grow as rumours of his past misdeeds circulate. Will Dorian get one last chance for love and redemption and more importantly, will he escape with his life?
Long-time collaborators Oliver Parker and Barnaby Thompson reunite for “Dorian Gray” after their previous successful Oscar Wilde screen adaptations The Importance of Being Earnest and An Ideal Husband (nominated for two Golden Globes and three BAFTA awards). More recently, Parker and Thompson co-directed and co-produced “St Trinian’s” which has become the third highest grossing independent UK film of all time.
The line-up of top filmmaking talent on “Dorian Gray” includes Academy Award and BAFTA-nominated cinematographer Roger Pratt BSC (Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets, Batman, The End of the Affair, Brazil), celebrated production designer John Beard (Easy Virtue, The History Boys, Wings of the Dove) and Academy Award and BAFTA-nominated costume designer Ruth Myers (The Golden Compass, LA Confidential, Emma, The Addams Family). CGI effects will be provided by MPC (Sweeney Todd, Harry Potter, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Casino Royale). The film will shoot for 9 weeks.
Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray” was first published in 1890 and it is considered one of the great works of classic gothic horror and one of the modern classics of Western literature. For contemporary audiences this screen adaptation couldn’t be more timely, as it examines the destructive power of beauty, the blind pursuit of pleasure and the darkness that can result. The ongoing obsession with eternal youth, self-image, cosmetic surgery and the cult of celebrity will resonate and draw a whole new audience to Wilde’s timeless classic.
“Dorian Gray” is produced by Barnaby Thompson, directed by Oliver Parker, from a screenplay by Toby Finlay and is executive produced by James Spring. “Dorian Gray” is an Ealing Studios presentation of a Fragile Film backed by Prescience, Aramid and the UK Film Council.