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Now, for those who HAVE read Jane Eyre...

I knew my traveller with his broad and jetty
eyebrows; his square forehead, made squarer by the horizontal sweep of
his black hair. I recognised his decisive nose, more remarkable for
character than beauty; his full nostrils, denoting, I thought, choler;
his grim mouth, chin, and jaw--yes, all three were very grim, and no
mistake. His shape, now divested of cloak, I perceived harmonised in
squareness with his physiognomy: I suppose it was a good figure in the
athletic sense of the term--broad chested and thin flanked, though
neither tall nor graceful.


"You examine me, Miss Eyre," said he: "do you think me handsome?"

I should, if I had deliberated, have replied to this question by
something conventionally vague and polite; but the answer somehow slipped
from my tongue before I was aware--"No, sir."


He rose from his chair, and stood, leaning his arm
on the marble mantelpiece: in that attitude his shape was seen plainly as
well as his face; his unusual breadth of chest, disproportionate almost
to his length of limb. I am sure most people would have thought him an
ugly man; yet there was so much unconscious pride in his port; so much
ease in his demeanour; such a look of complete indifference to his own
external appearance; so haughty a reliance on the power of other
qualities, intrinsic or adventitious, to atone for the lack of mere
personal attractiveness, that, in looking at him, one inevitably shared
the indifference, and, even in a blind, imperfect sense, put faith in the

And yet, Hollywood (okay, the BBC, really) persists in portraying Mr. Rochester with the hottest hotties that hotted. Like Toby Stephens.

Toby as Rochester

Toby in another costume drama

Also, don't you think Toby should totally play Damian Lewis's brother sometime?

Actually, I lied. Hollywood does an okay job at not finding the hottest hotties that hotted for the rest of the Rochesters. But they have yet to find anyone actually ugly for the role. I think Orson Welles comes closest:

The forehead is so right! And he's not... chiselly. The way Toby is. And his eyes are skeery.

I disapproved of moon-faced Ciaran Hinds in this role, though I'm looking at the pics and thinking: you-gly.

Ciaran as Rochester.

Really hilariously ugly Ciaran as Rochester.

Quick! Antidote! Caesar!

And a pint of Wentworth, stat!

And John Hurt is far too blond. And let us not speak of Timothy Dalton. He was up there way past Toby Stephens in the classically handsome land, though not personally to my taste.

So I started to really think: what DID Rochester look like?

Nah. I probably only think that because of Orson Welles.

Mr. Rochester was Charlotte Bront;ë's weird mish-mash of (certainly) her youthful fantasies based on Lord Byron and (probably) the married man she fell in love with while at school in Brussels, Constantin Heger (also, her teacher). The physical descriptions of Heger and Rochester are pretty much a match, and Heger didn't mind reducing Charlotte to tears in the course of teaching her, which, okay, somehow fits with Rochester in my mind.

So. Rochester is basically built like a wrestler, or... something. And looks like Heger. Ish. So....

(And people think Toby Stephens oversneers.)

Yes, that's professional wrestler Hunter Hearst Helmsley.

I am SO going to literary hell.


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 13th, 2008 05:36 am (UTC)
Nov. 13th, 2008 06:22 am (UTC)
That is a hilarious post.

(Also, is the NaNo novel you spoke of related to this post? Awesome! (And eep, because I have been considering one too...))
Nov. 13th, 2008 07:46 am (UTC)
OMG. I had no idea Toby Stephens was Maggie Smith's son. But you'e right - somehow it makes him even better...
Nov. 13th, 2008 02:48 pm (UTC)
Weird, right? Ah, Americans. We do so love a dynasty.
Nov. 13th, 2008 12:01 pm (UTC)
I snerk!
Nov. 13th, 2008 12:33 pm (UTC)
We type LOL all the time, but this entry really did make me laugh out loud. Your photo pics just got better and better, and by the last one, well, LOL!

And I was trying to imagine the shrinking violet whose name I'm too lazy to look up, the one on the arm of Orson Wells up there, leaning on ... Hunter Hearst Helmsley. What a name.

What was with Ciaran's HAIR as Rochester?!
Nov. 13th, 2008 02:44 pm (UTC)
Joan Fontaine was Jane to Orson's Rochester.

Ciaran's hair = nightmare...
Nov. 13th, 2008 12:53 pm (UTC)
Wow, Toby Stephens should play Damian Lewis's brother sometime.

Also you just fantasy-cast a professional wrestler as Mr. Rochester. I am in awe.
Nov. 13th, 2008 02:44 pm (UTC)
Nov. 13th, 2008 01:52 pm (UTC)
If you're going to literary hell, we're all going with you. :)

Nov. 13th, 2008 02:23 pm (UTC)
I was going to say. I read Jane Eyre cold, in my 20s, and concluded that Rochester was the villainous himbo from Disney's Beauty and hte Beast.

Or, you know, Clenchy McLockjaw. Which is why I found it hilarious when he burst into song later on in the novel.
Nov. 14th, 2008 03:03 am (UTC)

of the "No one _____s like Gaston" song, which was my personal favorite in the movie. Especially when he lifted up the bench with the three girls on it. Benches of wenches. Yup, he's a BAMF.
Nov. 13th, 2008 09:58 pm (UTC)
Ciaran Hinds and Toby
You forgot to include a dose or chaser of Ciaran Hinds from his role in Ivanhoe - dark, brooding and doomed. And yes, Toby definitely should play D.L.'s brother - perhaps they'll cast him in Life down the line.
Nov. 14th, 2008 03:19 am (UTC)
I will always love Toby Stephens best as Fergus Wolff in Possession, for which he was dreadfully miscast, but great anyway. 'Course he can't compete with Aaron Eckhart as the handsome lead (imo), but he's still a yummy side dish.

And, Maggie's son? Yes, suddenly hotter by association.
Nov. 14th, 2008 07:55 am (UTC)
I've never thought of Rochester as *ugly* s much as a combination of unprepossessing, with a scary/glowering countenance, and not attractive to Jane. This doesn't mean I think he's handsome, but Jane is quite a moron about everything else....
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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