British television network the BBC will broadcast Anna Nicole, an opera based on the combustible life of busty Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith. Here are 5 key details about this mish-mash of tabloid tale and high art, set to air early next year:
1. It's a real opera
The creators of Anna Nicole have impressive credentials: The Royal Opera House will be staging it, and award-winning composer Mark Antony Turnage has written the score. Dutch singer Eva-Maria Westbroek, "one of the world's leading sopranos," will be taking on the title role.
2. Its writer is no stranger to this peculiar sub-genre
Librettist Richard Thomas also authored Jerry Springer: The Opera, which was staged at Carnegie Hall in New York in January 2008 with Harvey Keitel in the lead role. When a televised version premiered on the BBC in 2005, Christian groups protested outside the corporation's headquarters and attempted to sue executives for blasphemy.
3. It's not quite a tell-all
The film will dramatize Smith's career, her controversial marriage to nonagenarian billionaire J. Howard Marshall, and her untimely death from a drug overdose — but will shy away from documenting the ongoing legal battles surrounding her demise.
4. Which isn't to say it will be sanitized
The Royal Opera House has warned that the show will include "extreme language, drug abuse and sexual content." In other words, says Tim Adler at Deadline Hollywood, the BBC should "expect the viewer complaint hotline to be ringing off the hook" — which is, no doubt, the intention.
5. It's only being shown in the U.K. (for now)
Anna Nicole will premiere at the Royal Opera House and be shown live on British TV in February 2011, but, at the moment anyway, there are plans to broadcast it in the U.S.