First look at Helena Bonham Carter as Elizabeth Taylor: better than Lohan? Ha.

We haven’t discussed this enough, but I did mention it in last week’s post about Helena Bonham Carter’s Vogue cover. HBC was cast as Elizabeth Taylor in a BBC TV movie called Burton & Taylor, and this is the first image from the film. Dominic West – who Americans may know from The Hour or The Wire – costars as Richard Burton. The film takes place during Liz & Dick’s Broadway revival of Private Lives in 1983, which was after they had divorced.

So, are you at least more hopeful about this than, say, Lindsay Lohan’s Liz & Dick? I think Helena will be amazing as Elizabeth. I think Helena is going to nail the voice especially, and they really went out of their way to find a pretty righteous wig. I don’t really know what’s happening with Dominic West… does he look like Burton to you? Not that much.

In HBC’s Vogue UK interview, she said that playing Elizabeth would hopefully help her “grow a soul”. She also had really lovely things to say about her husband Tim Burton: “My Burton is the best Burton. He makes me laugh, but also he’s adorable. He’s kind, and he’s true, and he’s honest. He helps me hugely in life because, in many ways, he’s the opposite of me. I flit around and over analyze, and he is very instinctive and very steady. He’s my anchor – really, truly – and I feel lucky every single day to have found him.” Sweet!

Photos courtesy of Deadline, Vogue UK & WENN.

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101 Responses to “First look at Helena Bonham Carter as Elizabeth Taylor: better than Lohan? Ha.”

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  1. TWINK says:

    WOW she looks so different in that first pic, which I guess is good.

  2. Elisabeth says:

    i think she physically looks more like her than Lohan…and she’s a better actress (that goes without saying)

  3. Tessa says:

    Nice words about her husband. No idea why they’re making this movie. I guess I just have no interest whatsoever in Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. They are waaaay before my time, and I really could not care less about them.

    • nofkksgiven says:

      You’re missing out then dear. One of the greatest love stories/scandals of all time.

    • Mei says:

      You should definitely read up, then! Quel scandale.

    • Amy Tennant says:

      I highly recommend the book “Furious Love.” Dare I say they were the Brangelina of their day as far as the media were concerned? (You could cast Debbie Reynolds as Aniston, but Eddie Fisher was the man they had in common, and he doesn’t hold up as a worthy Pitt figure, and Sybil Burton wasn’t as famous, so it’s not a one-to-one comparison). They were before my time, but I’ve become a bit obsessed after reading that book. Read Burton’s diaries, too. (I don’t recommend Fisher’s autobiography). They were tremendously talented, tremendously flawed and kind of fascinating characters. As for HBC as La Liz, I’m looking forward to it. She can act, and she’s British, so there’s two marks in her favor. I don’t know the leading man, but if he can nail Burton’s voice and mannerisms I can overlook the lack of physical resemblance. (I actually thought the poor guy in the Lindsey Lohan movie looked a lot like RB)>

    • Isa says:

      Well, I like looking at pictures of Taylor, because she really was extraordinarily beautiful (to me anyway). But like you, I don’t really care about her and Burton as a couple. I know the story, I’ve read Furious Love. But I suppose I’m jaded by what society and especially celebrity culture is like nowadays because I just don’t find their antics particularly shocking or salacious. I can intellectually understand why they were so scandalous for their time, but my reaction to the whole story was simply, “okay… and?”

      • Amy Tennant says:

        Do you think they were maybe kind of the start of that whole frantic paparazzi kind of culture? Didn’t the term “paparazzi” even originate during the filming of Cleopatra?

        Maybe someone decided a good movie about the twosome was needed as a tonic after that trainwreck. That’s the only reason I can think of for another movie about them right now (unless some gag order or statute of limitations has expired that I don’t know about).

      • BW says:

        Amy Tennant,

        The term paparazzi came from the movie La Dolce Vita by Fellini. The photographers are chasing the rich and famous around Italy, and the main photographer’s name is Paparazzo.

      • Isa says:

        @Amy Tennant: Well, the word itself originated with an Italian film by Fellini, if I understand correct. But yes, if we are talking about press frenzy and interest, Taylor and Burton certainly set a precedent for all celebrity couples. Again, I understand intellectually that their affair was some kind of milestone in pop culture. However, that in itself doesn’t interest me much more than some other random historical fact.

        I do think they deserve another movie though, if only because no one deserves to have only Lindsay Lohan portray them. Also, for all my own apathy for their story, I’m sure there are plenty of people who are still interested in Taylor and Burton.

      • Amy Tennant says:

        Thanks for clearing that up for me, guys!

      • Sticker Shock says:

        I think this whole post illustrates why “Charisma” is so powerful and elusive. They were charismatic and charismatic together. A skilled writer or artist might be able to capture and describe a hint of that charisma but you might not get the full effect no matter what. I think the whole of pictures, movies, books and gossip all combine into a tiny taste, but that’s sadly all that’s left.

    • The Original G says:

      I know who they are, know and story and I have to agree with Tessa. Why this movie now? I just don’t think there is any appetite for a Taylor pic, especially, another one.

  4. allons-y alonso says:

    mmmmmmm……..Dominic West

  5. Sisi says:

    They should change the title, it’s too similar to the Cracktastrophe, and you don’t want that association

    • NerdMomma says:

      I agree, any title other than One & The Other. Maybe they’re playing off the Liz & Dick catastrophe for publicity? They’ll probably get more press and viewers because of people wanting to make comparisons.

      Either way, HBC is fabulous and I love her.

    • jwoolman says:

      Actually the title of the Lohan disaster was puzzling- Liz and Dick were nicknames that the actual people didn’t use. And Taylor hated the name Liz. So the name of this piece is much more reasonable.

  6. Jeannie B says:

    She is just all-around wonderful to me. A Room with a View will always be one of my favorite movies.

  7. RocketMerry says:

    HelenaBonamCarter is a Goddess. Period.

  8. taxi says:

    HBC is a superb actress & will certainly emulate Taylor’s mannerisms and body language. West may do the intense Burton gaze? Burton’s voice was particularly resonant so maybe West can bring that, along with the distinctive diction?

    I think Lily Collins’ face resembles young Elizabeth’s more strongly, but she doesn’t yet (or may never) have the acting ability to successfully pull off that role.

    • Arla says:

      The Google search I just did is my only time seeing pictures of Lily Collins, so maybe I’m missing it. But the only similarity I really see is strong eyebrows. I realize how rare that is for an actress?? model?? to have now in our over-plucked/waxed time, but that is really the only strong feature I see that resembles Liz. But, as I said, maybe I haven’t seen enough of her.

  9. epiphany says:

    HBC is certainly a MUCH better actress than Blohan, so the film should be an improvement just based on that. Unfortunately, neither Lindsay or Helena possess Taylor’s mythical beauty – but then, who does these days?
    That could adequately portray her, I mean?

    • EscapedConvent says:

      I agree, & your phrase “mythical beauty” is so fitting. There isn’t anyone who looks like her, & it’s unlikely there ever will be.

      That’s why it comes down to the talent & ability of the actress who takes on her portrayal. If she isn’t a really striking actor & doesn’t knock it out of the park, it won’t be believable at all. As other posters here say, makeup & wigs can do just so much.

      Just have a look at Elizabeth in her twenties & thirties. That’s why I giggle when I hear someone called “the most beautiful woman in the world” (not just Goop, although that is especially hilarious) because I figure we’ve already seen that. She could be called the modern “Helen of Troy” but would have rolled her eyes at being called this, which is one of the things I loved about her.

  10. telesma says:

    Of course it will be better than Lohan’s. I think with all the Burton frippery, people forget that she’s a real actress with multiple Academy Award nominations and at least one BAFTA.

  11. Shelley says:

    Eeeerm…NO. Her jaw line is totally wrong and she is nowhere near as beautiful as Liz. I’m sorry to say LiLo was a more believable looking Liz.

  12. Samigirl says:

    I love her. I think she’s stunning in (what unfortunately is considered) a non-conventional way. She’s also an amazeballs actress. This is going to blow Liz & Dick out of the water as far as quality goes, but I don’t think it will get as high of viewers.

  13. Meow Mix says:

    He doesn’t look like Burton to me in this still. More like Christopher Plummer.

  14. Miss so and so says:

    That woman is so gorgeous and why she wants to look like an unmade bed everyday is a mystery to me

    • Esperanza says:

      My thoughts exactly. It’s so nice to see her all glammed up for a change. She truly is lovely and it’s nice to see her embrace that instead of wearing oversized costumes with ratty hair.

      • Amy Tennant says:

        My husband never recognizes her in any role where she has her hair combed (e.g., The King’s Speech). I don’t mind her look, myself. It’s not as if Tim’s particularly well-groomed either.

        The first movie I ever saw her in was that Mel Gibson Hamlet. Her huge eyes were haunting.

  15. gogoGorilla says:

    Was the Blohan version supposed to be a serious drama? I watched pieces of it and couldn’t stop laughing.

    HBC is gorgeous and has the chops for the role. I hope the script is good. I think Liz was a pretty complicated person (not to mention unbelievably gorgeous).

    • Mich says:

      I was trapped on a plane for 15 hours yesterday and was stuck for something to watch – having run through all the options on the 10 hour flight to reach my 15 hour one. Liz & Dick was on and even in mind-numbing dullness of traveling purgatory I couldn’t make it through more than 10 minutes. Truly awful! I was so BORED!

  16. Nicolette says:

    Wow, she looks great. I wouldn’t have recognized her.

  17. eliza says:

    HBC looks closer to Liz than Lohan but it still, IMO, is not a good fit.

  18. lucy2 says:

    I never would have imagined her for that role, but the first photo is pretty interesting.

    I still kind of want to watch the Lohan one, if only to laugh.

  19. Guesto says:

    Oooh fabulous! Who cares if they resemble them physically or not, both are excellent actors and have all the tools necessary to bring this to life. I’m not really interested in Taylor & Burton as such but I’ll always make space and time for anything featuring HBC.

    And I love what she says about her Burton. These two are a ‘together forever’ couple.

  20. decorative item says:

    She doesn’t have to look exactly like Liz. And, because she’s such a remarkable actress no one will notice.
    Look at Douglas as Liberace. IMO, he looks nothing like Lee, but a few moments into the movie and I was a believer. It’s going to be wonderful!

  21. LAK says:

    i don’t understand why people are so literal with biographical films.

    Did Jamie Fox resemble Ray Charles? or Angela Bassett Tina Turner? Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth I or Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as Scott whathisname or Robert Redford/Jack Nicholson as Carl Bernstein? Heck, even Elizabeth Taylor herself as Cleopatra.

    What matters is the acting. Yes they use make up and wigs to try and approximate resemblance, but it is the essence of the person they are portraying that matters.

    I don’t feel shortchanged by the lack of physical resemblance if they capture the essence of the person. The lack of resemblance only grates if they can’t act or the picture has been poorly constructed/made.

  22. moon says:

    HBC as Liz Taylor makes the Lilo version even more of a joke than it already was.

  23. aenflex says:

    Love her. Theory of flight.

  24. Londongal says:

    Fucking LOVE her. Friend of mine did that hideously embarassing thing in a *tiny* shop where she saw HBC, thought she knew her as she recognised her, smiled at her, HCB sweetly smiled back, friend realised with horror that ‘no, I don’t actually know you, you’re Helena Bonham Carter’ and promptly ran away!

  25. Quinn says:

    WOW! HBC cleans up really well!!!!

  26. minime says:

    HBC is so gorgeous and unique! She is also an outstanding actress so, while I’ll definitely avoid “Liz & Dick”, this is something I would really like to watch.

  27. I Choose Me says:

    Am I too late for the HBC love fest? She is the cat’s meow, my spirit animal. I love her and I think she will make a great Elizabeth.

  28. EscapedConvent says:

    I’m wild about HBC, but I must add—I’m glad someone as good as Dominic West is playing Burton. He is a *great* actor. And in the top photo, I didn’t even know it was DW, so he’s already convinced me.

  29. onegirlup says:

    In the top pic I think he totally nails RB and HBC looks legit and FABULOUS.
    TOTALLY looking forward to this and WILL watch it gladly.
    giddy up!

  30. DianeP says:

    HBC is a fantastic actress, and I’m sure she’ll be fabulous as Elizabeth Taylor. Helena NAILED the role of Queen Mum (as she later became) in “The King’s Speech”.

  31. bettyrose says:

    Okay but after this can we never mention HBC and LL in the same post ever again??

  32. Emily C. says:

    He looks like Burton to me. The first thing I thought when I saw that picture was, “wow, they did a good job getting him to look like Burton.” Hm.

    But I think it doesn’t matter what they look like in still photos. What matters is how they act, in motion.

    Btw, one reason it’s so hard to get anyone to look like Elizabeth Taylor: her eyelashes. She had a double row of eyelashes. I do too, and there is just no way to duplicate that look with makeup — yet.

  33. KCREX says:

    My favorite drag name is Helluva Bottom Carter.

  34. Mich says:

    I adore HBC. Ever since her Room With A View days, I’ve been a major fan girl. The woman could sign on to play a literal rock and turn in an award-worthy performance.

  35. lady mary. says:

    well,blohan especially in that red dress exactly resembled a young elizabeth ,but she was too young to bring in a drunk 40 yera old elizabeth taylor,despite srsly lacking acting chops ,HBC is perfect ,she will easily nail iin a fiesty taylor

  36. skilo says:

    I love H.B.C. just love her.

  37. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    Who doesn’t love HBC (outside of Emma Thompson)?

  38. Camille (TheOriginal) says:

    I am sooo looking forward to seeing this. And HBC looks amazing as Liz. I’m buying what they are selling.

  39. Mew says:

    She always walks around looking like a mess so I always forget that she really cleans up nicely!

  40. newtsgal says:

    If my cat coughed up a fur ball and I was to put an Elizabeth Taylor face mask on it, it would still be a better ET than Lindsay Lohan!!!

  41. Amanda G says:

    I don’t think she has the same beauty that Elizabeth had, but she will certainly be a better actress than Lohan.

  42. Miss M says:

    I love HBC! great actress!

  43. Wicked says:

    OMG!!! That is going to be awesome! There is nothing HBC can’t do! I don’t know him, I remember him from 300 and little else! Unfortunately, I was too busy looking @ Gerard Butler to notice this guy’s acting!

  44. DoMaJoReMc says:

    A MUCH classier-looking ‘Liz’ than Lohan

  45. Jenn says:

    She could play Liz dressed as Bellatrix and still do it better than Lohan.

  46. Jag says:

    She is gorgeous and will be amazing in this part!

  47. Jackie Jormp Jomp (formerly Zelda) says:

    I know everyone is all up in how beautiful Taylor was, but I think Bonham Carter is more beautiful. In any get up. Full stop.

  48. Flower says:

    Way better than Lohan but the guy looks more like Christopher Plummer than Richard Burton

  49. truthful says:

    I can’t wait for this to come out!!

    please give us a heads up if you can, I love anything that she is in..

    she puts her everything in parts she is given.


  50. Jessica says:

    Lindsay is gonna be pissed….