Back Into It

Tomorrow afternoon (Saturday, 3.31) in London, a reading of Orson Welles‘ script of Joseph Conrad‘s Heart of Darkness by actor Brian Cox (and presumably others) will be live-streamed starting at 5:30 pm. (9:30 am in Los Angeles, 12:30 pm in NYC.) The reading is being staged by artist Fiona Banner with the use of “a riverboat installation modelled on the Roi des Belges, the vessel Conrad captained on his journey up the Congo in 1890,” the Telegraph‘s Tim Robey reports.

Heart of Darkness is the project that RKO, which had signed Welles to a two-picture deal, declined to finance in late 1939 or early ’40. The Wiki page says Welles “planned to film the action with a subjective camera (a technique later used in the Robert Montgomery film Lady in the Lake). But when a budget was drawn up, RKO’s enthusiasm cooled because it was greater than the previously agreed limit.” This and another RKO turn-down (a film called The Smiler With the Knife that would have starred Lucille Ball) prompted Welles to move on to Citizen Kane.

In tomorrow’s performance Cox will play — as Welles intended 72 years ago — both Marlow, the narrator-protagonist, and Captain Kurtz, the corrupt ivory trader who was transformed into Colonel Kurtz in Francis Coppola‘s Apocalypse Now.

10 thoughts on “Back Into It

  1. Is it the script for the proposed movie? Or is it the radio play? They played excerpts of the latter during the Hearts of Darkness documentary.

  2. That sounds like it would have been fantastic, although I can’t be mad that the refusal to make this allowed Wells to do Citizen Kane.

  3. I’m glad for Kane, but his take on Heart would have been interesting. I found Nicholas Roeg’s tv version disappointing.

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  5. what? Orson wanted Brian Cox to play Marlow and Kurtz? how prescient of him… no wonder RKO dropped it… their lead actor wouldn’t even be born for five or six years…!

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