Women’s Wear Daily
04.21.2014
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Suzy

The word from London has it that a TV drama on the life and loves of fly-lady Amy Johnson has already hit turbulence, even before takeoff. A busybody relative of the late lady aviator is threatening to file a formal complaint that the...

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The word from London has it that a TV drama on the life and loves of fly-lady Amy Johnson has already hit turbulence, even before takeoff. A busybody relative of the late lady aviator is threatening to file a formal complaint that the story dwells too much on Johnson's string of lovers rather than on the record flights that made her Queen of the Skies in the Thirties. Emma Thompson's been talked of to play the passionate pilot when and if the film is set to fly. But then Emma's been talked of to play everything but Marlene Dietrich when they make the movie of Marlene's daughter Maria Riva's book on mutter. They're hoping Louis Malle will direct and that John Guare, especially hot after "Six Degrees of Separation" will do the screenplay.

The Latin American journalist Isabel Allende, who wrote the bestseller on which the film, "The House of the Spirits" is based (the movie starring Jeremy Irons, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Vanessa Redgrave and Wynona Ryder has had mixed reviews), was so disenchanted with certain Hollywood suits that the film almost didn't get made. "When the book was first published," says she, "I had several offers to do the movie, but I was so horrified by the people. Everything they said sounded so flamboyant and artificial. No one seemed to have a grasp on reality. So I told my agent I wanted no more contact with directors or producers and that I didn't want to make the movie."

Then along came Bille August, the Ingmar Bergman protege, and Allende changed her tune. "After seeing Bille's movie, 'Pelle the Conqueror,' and discussing "The House of the Spirits" with him, within half an hour I knew he was the one." And watching the picture being made was a moving experience for Allende. "Not only did it bring back memories," she says, "but now when I think of my grandmother, I don't think of my real one -- I always think of Meryl Streep, who plays her in the movie. It's a wonderful feeling." Meryl must feel pretty good about it too, because she's had the best reviews of anyone concerned.
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