In Development (2019)
Director: Waris Hussein
Writer: Stephen James Thompson
n 1972 the marriage of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor was falling apart amid the pressures of success, celebrity and addiction. With exquisite dramatic irony, they chose this moment to become co-stars in a feature-length drama entitled 'Divorce His, Divorce Hers'.
Monstrous Love is the story of that production, told by its hapless director. Waris Hussein, a suave but inexperienced Anglo-Indian TV director, has a glamorous mother, a beautiful family flat in London and a neurotic boyfriend – the Burton/Taylor job promises him respite from his complicated life as well as the chance to work with two of his childhood idols. But the reality proves very different, with the powerful leads battling one another at the helm. Waris seeks refuge in an affair with a handsome young German doctor who brings him perspective from the world beyond the insular movie industry. These encounters with harsh truths, both professional and romantic, form a rite of passage for the young director.
Hilariously funny and heartbreakingly poignant, Monstrous Love is a sensitive and nuanced portrayal of Burton and Taylor as stars, lovers and people. As an autobiography, it tells the warm and compelling narrative of its protagonist's development from idealism to maturity and offers a brilliantly observed depiction of the movie industry, with all its foibles. In presenting his story Hussein will recreate all the chic opulence of early 1970s style, with a muted palette and gorgeous cinematography.