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Reel vs Real: Ben Whishaw as John Keats

For this week's featured biographical film and face-off between the biopic actors and their real-life counterparts, we bring our fellow cinephiles the 2009 film Bright Star, which starred Ben Whishaw as the celebrated English poet John Keats.

Movie poster via theaudient.blogspot.com

Fans of literature, poetry, and history will surely fawn (if they haven’t yet) over the 2009 film Bright Star, which was based on the last three years of the life of English poet John Keats and his romance with Fanny Brawne.

The movie details the meeting between John Keats (Ben Whishaw) and the fashionable Frances “Fanny” Brawne (Abbie Cornish) through the Dilke family in Hampstead in 1818, to the time they fell in love after the aloof poet opened up to Fanny’s flirtations, and the tragic period when Keats fell ill and eventually succumbed to tuberculosis. Most importantly, the biopic borrows its title from the sonnet that Keats wrote for Brawne during their passionate yet relatively short romance.

Like James Franco in James Dean, Ben Whishaw did extensive research along with director Jane Campion in preparation for the biopic. Whishaw reportedly learned how to write using a quill and ink for the film, and the letters that his character sent to Fanny Brawne were actually written in his own hand.

It’s also worth nothing how the Campion did an impressive job for the casting, especially since there are no photographic likenesses of John Keats, unlike Fanny Brawne, who has an ambrotype from 1850.

Watch the trailer for Bright Star below:

All information for this article were sourced from Bright Star (film) on Wikipedia and Bright Star on IMDb.

A series made for cinephiles, Reel vs. Real highlights some notable biographical films that you may or may not have watched, and puts the biopic actors side by side with their real life counterparts.

written by plasticpopsicle

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