Danny Boyle for My Fair Lady? Wouldn’t It Be Luvverly …

So what’s next for Danny Boyle? The Sun optimistically put the Slumdog Millionaire director forward as a potential candidate for the next James Bond movie. But now EW.com’s Nicole Sperling is reporting that Boyle and Sony are talking tuner. Boyle might put on a new version of the musical My Fair Lady, adapted by Emma Thompson.

The Lerner-Loewe musical adapts George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion. The Irish playwright’s version of the Greek myth finds phonetics professor Henry Higgins attempting to turn flower girl Eliza Doolittle into a lady. Standing in the way are the expected class barriers and Doolittle’s voice, which doesn’t so much cut glass as transform it into sand.

The great George Cukor’s 1964 version of the Lerner-Loewe musical, with clothes and other things by Cecil Beaton, is one of those movies that I’ve probably seen a thousand times and never made it all the way through. It’s certainly got one of the longest credit sequences in history.

Boyle is enough of a cinematic chameleon to make me think he could pull it off, and Thompson’s pedigree was established by her Oscar for writing Sense & Sensibility. The problem is finding replacements for Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn, who stamped her indelible signature on the role of Eliza Doolittle despite her vocals being dubbed by Marni Nixon. Kate Winslet is the obvious choice—earthy, talented, familiar—but I’d like Beyonce to do the singing.

As for Harrison, who could possibly emulate his diction? Harrison’s vocal chops were nil, although his aristocratic accent could turn the dictionary into the social register. His Henry Higgins sounds like an Edwardian Q-Tip. Candidates? Jeremy Irons is too lizard-like. Ewan McGregor is likely too young. Daniel Craig would probably fail to find the comedy in the character.

While we ponder the outcome, scope Sexy Rexy’s flow in one of my favorite numbers.

UPDATE: Surprise! Keira Knightley is being eyed for the Eliza Doolittle plot. The film will be produced by Cameron Mackintosh and Duncan Kenworthy (whose track record includes Notting Hill and Love, Actually). The producers are aiming to shoot on as many available locations as possible, and also to pad out what was already an extraordinarily lengthy movie (2 hours 50 minutes) with additional material from Pygmalion. It’s necessary, y’see, to demonstrate “the emotional highs and lows of Eliza Doolittle as she undergoes the ultimate makeover.” (ComingSoon.net, via Island Passage)

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