St. Vincent is set to direct a film adaptation of The Picture Of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde’s famed 1890 novel, but her version will have a twist: The hedonistic title character will be a woman. The Victorian age story follows a handsome man obsessed with beauty and indulgence. Wanting to avoid the physical changes that come with growing old, he sells his soul to ensure he’ll stay eternally young while his portrait ages in his place, revealing every vice and depravity he partakes in along the way.
St. Vincent, whose real name is Annie Clark, is better known for her work in the musical arena. She’s released five albums since 2007, the most recent of which, her 2014 self-titled record, won the Grammy for Best Alternative Album in 2015. She made her directorial debut at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival with female-driven horror anthology XX, for which she co-wrote, scored, and helmed a short titled “The Birthday Party” starring Melanie Lynskey, Joe Swanberg, and Sheila Vand.
As reported by Variety, she’ll now take on her first feature-length directorial effort with The Picture Of Dorian Gray. The movie is being developed under Lionsgate, and David Birke will write the script. He previously penned the Isabelle Huppert-fronted thriller Elle (2016). He also co-wrote the upcoming Slender Man horror flick and is currently adapting Pierre Lemaitre’s crime novel, Alex. No casting details for The Picture Of Dorian Gray have been announced.
The novel — Wilde’s first and only — has been adapted numerous times over the last century, most notably with Albert Lewin’s 1945 take starring Hurd Hatfield, George Sanders, and Angela Lansbury, the latter of whom received an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress. But St. Vincent’s gender-swapped spin offers a fresh perspective. The original character was somewhat of an inversion of the beauty-driven villainy seen in characters like Snow White’s evil queen, but it’s not difficult to see how a female lead could lend commentary to the impossible beauty standards often placed upon modern women, and under extreme circumstances, what that could yield.
St. Vincent is, of course, quite new to filmmaking, but her work on XX showed acumen and promise, and it will be interesting to see what she can do on a larger platform. Throw in some big-name talent and this could be a major title.
XX is currently available to stream on Netflix. A release date for The Picture Of Dorian Gray has not yet been announced.