Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, about a man who stays young thanks to a magical portrait that does the ageing for him, has been adapted countless times since it was first published in 1890. There’s yet another version in the works, and though its gender-swapping twist isn’t a first, it still sounds mighty intriguing.
Image: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Mostly that’s because of who will be behind the camera: St Vincent, also known as Annie Clark, a Grammy-winning musician who has lately expanded her talents to include filmmaking. She made her cinematic debut earlier this year by helming one of the segments in XX, a horror anthology that brought together female directors, female-centric stories and some towering female performances. As it happens, Clark’s “The Birthday Party” — a candy-coloured yet pitch-black comedy about an upscale housewife (Melanie Lynskey) who must juggle an inconvenient corpse, nosy neighbours and her child’s birthday party in the space of one nightmarish day — was our favourite part of the film, even if it didn’t quite fit into the movie’s overall horror scheme. Clark’s willingness to bend genre conventions and the fact that she already has a confident visual style make us even more excited for her Dorian Gray, which we don’t know much about other than the main character will be female.
That’s a change which has happened before (1983’s made-for-TV The Sins of Dorian Gray recast the lead as an actress; instead of a portrait, it’s an audition tape that bears the ravages of time), but it remains to be seen exactly how Clark and screenwriter David Birke (who wrote Paul Verhoeven’s prickly, critically-acclaimed Elle, as well as the upcoming Slender Man) approach their version of the story. Quite obviously, there’s no casting news to report yet… but the versatile Melanie Lynskey, who’ll next be seen in J.J. Abrams and Stephen King’s Hulu series Castle Rock, sure would be an outstanding choice.