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Newsletter     January 2000

Burns The Movie!

It has been reported that former UK government minister Lord Caithness, is to assist in the financing of a $30 Million movie focussing on Robert Burns and his love affair with Agnes McLehose. A European merchant bank is believed to be the main source of the funding. Not for the first time the movie industry has turned its attention to a film based on the life or Robert Burns, but to date and rather surprisingly, none have proceeded.

One of the producers is said to be Scots actor James Cosmo, who played a lead role in Braveheart alongside Mel Gibson. Vadim Jean (Leon the Pig Farmer & One more Kiss) will direct the film, which is reported to be going into production in the spring of next year.


Apparently, the main focus of the story is the secret and very deep love affair that existed between Burns and Agnes McLehose. In fear of being discovered, both adopted pseudonyms. Burns became "Sylvander" and she "Clarinda" The factual detail of this affair is shortly to be covered here in the pages of The World Burns Club. It is said that the proposed film will be titled "Clarinda" The picture on the right is an actual "silhouette" taken of Clarinda.

Johnny Depp, Hollywood heartthrob, who leapt to fame as "Edward Scissor Hands" is to be offered the lead role, with Oscar winner Emma Thompson (Sense & Sensibility) playing the beautiful Clarinda. No doubt casting Depp in this part will raise a few eyebrows, but then so did the casting of Mel Gibson as William Wallace in Braveheart. That particular film ultimately tested Gibson's acting ability to the hilt, and he surpassed expectations. If Depp does take the part, it will most certainly be a challenge. Not only must he capture the passion & spirit that set Robert Burns apart from mere mortals, the Scots accent and use of language will be more than demanding! Emma Thomson is a brilliantly versatile actress and seems to me to be just right for the part!

$30 Million is a small budget by today's standards, but the quality of films being produced in Scotland for such sums has delivered blockbusters like "Train Spotting". I see no reason why with careful planning, thought and creativity, that this film should not achieve similar blockbuster status albeit that an important factor in its success will be the necessary "glamorisation" of the facts. Just as in "Braveheart" and "Titanic" the true story whilst hugely intriguing, will not return billions of dollars alone. I believe that many purists will get up in arms over this one, but if it raises the awareness of Robert Burns..I'm all for it! Why not tell us what you think in the Discussion Forum !



2008 The Robert Burns World Federation