Singer-songwriter St. Vincent, whose real name is Annie Clark, has announced that she will direct a film adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray. Clark made her directorial debut earlier this year with a short in the horror anthology film XX, about a birthday party gone horribly wrong, but this will be her first feature as a director.
The screenplay for the new film is being adapted by David Birke, the writer who was behind Paul Verhoeven’s darkly comedic thriller Elle, from the novel by Oscar Wilde, which famously follows a man whose portrait grows old while he remains young and beautiful. St. Vincent’s version will introduce a twist on the original material by making the main character a woman.
Given how integral gender and sexuality are to the text, introducing a female Dorian Gray is a little more complicated than, say, flipping the genders in Ghostbusters. Though it hasn’t been confirmed, it seems reasonable to assume that if Dorian is female, the character of Basil Hallward, the painter of Dorian’s portrait, should also be gender-bent, to preserve the homoeroticism between the two.
So: We are definitely getting a female-led adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray directed by St. Vincent, but we might also wind up with a female-led adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray directed by St. Vincent with lesbians. What did we do to deserve this?