By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com March 1, 2011 at 2:20AM
The Roman statesman Cato The Elder, when asked about his legacy, responded "I would like the world to say 'why didn't they put up a statue to him?' rather than 'why did they put up a statue to him?'" "The King's Speech" director Tom Hooper now doesn't have the option, having beaten David Fincher, and the predictions of most Oscar prognosticators, and won the Best Director prize at Sunday's Academy Awards. Now, the young director, on only his third film, has to pick his follow-up without disappointing those invested in him.
A number of potential projects have emerged for Hooper in recent weeks: a possible re-team with writer David Seidler and producer Gareth Unwin on period adventure "The Lady Who Went Too Far," and a big-budget adaptation of stage musical "Les Miserables," and now one more project's been added to the list, and it's one that's come close to being made more than once in the past.
Deadline reports that Hooper may reunite with The Weinstein Company, who shepherded "The King's Speech" to Oscar success, for an adaptation of Deborah Moggach's novel "Tulip Fever." The book, published in 1999, is set in 17th century Holland, during a period where tulip bulbs became hot trading items, with a single bulb selling for as much as ten times the average annual salary, and follows the love affair between an artist and a married woman.
The film was originally set to go before cameras in 2004, with "Shakespeare in Love" director John Madden directing Keira Knightley and Jude Law in a script by Tom Stoppard, but it was scrapped at the last minute when the UK government closed tax loopholes that had made the big-budget production economically viable. Another attempt was made not long after, with filming to be shifted to Eastern Europe, with director Peter Chelsom ("Shall We Dance," "Hannah Montana: The Movie") attached, but it never moved any further.
Paramount had the rights, and were on the verge of putting the film into turnaround, but now The Weinstein Company are considering coming on board to co-finance the film, and Hooper is said to be 'serious' about the prospect of directing. It's a fairly potent tale, as relevant now as when the book was published when the dot-com bubble burst, and Hooper's a pretty good match for the material. Should he pick this above the rival projects, we imagine it could start filming by the end of this year.