|The French poster for Agora. Note how it |
gives the movie a revolutionary emphasis.
What elements of a Hollywood blockbuster does Mary Wollstonecraft's life lack? None!
Sex! Violence! Insanity! Fame and infamy! Terror! Love! Special effects! Costumes! Locations! Celebrity!
Let's go through these in some detail...
- Physical beauty! Graceful young women! (Lots!) Handsome charming young men! Powerful persuasive older men!
- Love and romance! Passionate friendships! Lesbian lust! Menage a trois! Cheating boyfriend! Heartbreak! Premarital hetero-sex! (Lots!) Bastard baby! Shotgun marriage!
- Fabulous settings! Lisbon & Paris! An Irish castle! The sublime splendours of Yorkshire & the wilderness of Scandinavia! Stormy ocean voyages! The white cliffs of Dover! And, bits of London that are actually possible to film!
- Violence! The bright hopes of the French Revolution turn to the Terror! Mob rule! Heads literally rolling off the guillotine! Blood in the Parisian gutters! Also, alcoholic wife-beating!
- Death! French corpses everywhere! Bloody regicide! Women dying in childbirth! An old man, peacefully, with time for wise words & weeping at bedside!
- Pain! Mental anguish! Spiritual turmoil! Suicide attempts! Rescue!
- Religion! Politics! Conflict! Controversy! Civilised discussion of historically crucial Enlightenment ideas! Dinner parties that shaped Civilisation As We Know It! Shouting matches of sexual jealousy and spurned love!
- Onwards & upwards! Overcoming a horrible childhood! Years of struggle against poverty! Standing up to society's expectations! Triumphing against the odds!
- Amazing coincidences! E.g. travel two weeks to aid pregnant ill friend, and arrive to find her in labour! Friend dies in childbirth, thus presaging the heroine's fate! Couldn't make up this dramatic foreshadowing!
|Furies at the guillotine: revolutionary |
women stir up the populace
- Bodice ripping! Flattering feminine costumes! Lots of lace can be arranged! And disarranged! And the men: powdered wigs & frock coats!
- In-jokes and references to other films! E.g. wet-shirted young man in Yorkshire (Pride & Prejudice), women knitting at the guillotine (Les Miserables).
- Grotesque elements of times gone by! Poor people starving! Hogarth's Gin Lane! A dying woman's breasts turgid with milk being relieved by puppies' suckling! Or, can expurgate if too distasteful for modern audience, as just titillating detail and not really relevant to our plot!
- Famous people! Second president of the United States John Adams and wife Abigail; Ben Franklin too; radical pamphleteer Tom Paine; lexicographer Samuel Johnson; Louis XVI on his way to the gallows!
- A black actor with a speaking part! (Another American angle.) Mary hung out with Abolitionists; call such a character a likely construct, a poetic licence.
- Gothic horror! (If requested.) Easy tie-ins to Frankenstein. Ghosts, if wished.
- Or would potential backers prefer pirates? Mary sailed the seas, on a detective quest for a missing treasure ship, at a time when Barbary pirates were a real risk.