Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya got a workout in the movies a few years back. Now, it seems its time for the camera to focus on The Cherry Orchard. Katrin Cartlidge, Alan Bates, and Charlotte Rampling have been announced to star in Varya, a 1999 adaptation of Chekhov's 1904 masterpiece.
Variety reports that Cartlidge, recently seen in Mike Leigh's Career Girls, will play the title role, the adopted daughter of feckless estate owner Madame Ranevskaya. The film's title would seem to indicate a shift in emphasis from Ranevskaya -- the play's typical focus -- to Varya, though the film's writer and director, Michael Cacoyannis, could not be reached for comment.
Bates and Rampling would most likely play Gayev and Ranevskaya, though their exact casting could not be learned.
The $5 million film will be produced by the Onassis Foundation, along with other Greek companies. Shooting is now underway in Bulgaria.
Oddly, Chekhov's classic has never previously been filmed for the big screen. A 1971 TV movie starred Jenny Agutter. -- By Robert Simonson