May 10, 2008 / 12:31 AM / 10 years ago

Natalie Portman exits "Wuthering Heights"

LONDON (Hollywood Reporter) - Director John Maybury’s upcoming adaptation of “Wuthering Heights” is facing a casting crisis after Natalie Portman pulled out of one of the main roles.

Natalie Portman poses for photographers at the premiere of the film "The Other Boleyn Girl" in Leicester Square, London February 19, 2008. REUTERS/Kieran Doherty

Finance and sales company HanWay Films hopes to have a replacement for Portman in the role of Cathy “within days.”

But the American actress’ exit is no small matter for HanWay and the film’s producers, especially because it arose just days before the Cannes film festival, during which the movie is to be sold to international distributors.

Local press reports here put the smart money on a British replacement for Portman. For his part, Maybury (“Love Is the Devil,” “The Jacket”) is of the opinion that the famous English role should go to someone from these shores.

Written by Olivia Hetreed, who also undertook the adaptation of “Girl With a Pearl Earring,” the new adaptation plans to steer away from “the stuffy costume drama” format.

Emily Bronte’s novel details the intense love story between the rich Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling brought from the slums of Liverpool.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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