Who Should Be Rhett and Scarlett?

Next month, St. Martin’s Press will publish a prequel to “Gone With the Wind,” and yes, it has been fully authorized by the Margaret Mitchell estate. This is the second official spinoff of the racist, hugely popular novel, following Alexandra Ripley’s reviled 1992 fiction “Scarlett.” The new book is all about Rhett — or, as the title says, “Rhett Butler’s People.” Donald McCaig, who wrote the Civil War novel “Jacob’s Ladder,” has supposedly been writing it for 12 years.
The 1939 “Gone With The Wind” movie featured Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh (pictured here large). The TV movie of “Scarlett” gave us Timothy Dalton and Joanne Whalley-Kilmer. So who should be cast as America’s ultimate lovers, Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara, in the screen version of the new novel? George Clooney and Ashley Judd (both pictured here) are the all-too-obvious choices. Hugh Jackman could probably do Rhett as well. Staying with the Australians, I’ll bet Russell Crowe would be sensational, and Keira Knightley might be able to pull off Scarlett, though she’s a little young. Publicity-wise, the best approach to Scarlett, however, would be to cast an unknown. Do I smell a TV reality show to find Miss Fiddle-Dee-Dee?

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