Once English filmmaker Andrea Arnold wraps her head around an idea, it's hard for her to let it go. So when the idea to adapt the Emily Bronte classic Wuthering Heights swirled around in her head, she did the only rational thing she knew. She decided to just do it. 'I have never liked the idea of adaptations,' Arnold said. 'A book is such a different language to film and they are often complete as they are, so I have really surprised myself by attempting one. It was like I had no choice. Once the idea was in my head I could not put it down. Even when things became very difficult I couldn't let it go.' Despite her passion for the project, Arnold's first experience with the story was not of reading the pages of Bronte's classic tome. Instead, she came across it via the iconic 1939 big screen adaptation by director William Wyler. 'The first time I knew of Wuthering Heights was seeing the film with Laurence Olivier as Heathcliff and Merle Oberon as Cathy when I was a kid,' Arnold recalls. 'I don't remember why, but it deeply affected me. I read the book later when I was a teenager. I was surprised, because it wasn't quite the love story I had grown to expect. It was a much darker, stranger, more profound thing.' However, Arnold's version is nothing like any of the previous screen versions; while the original and previous adaptations focus mainly on Cathy, Arnold tells the story from the perspective of Heathcliff (James Howson). 'When I re-read [the novel] after many years I found myself fretting about Heathcliff,' Arnold says. 'The ultimate outsider ... I wanted to make it for him. The way he was treated as a boy. The brutality. The way he then turns out.' Given that Heathcliff has been played by some top leading men like Olivier and Ralph Fiennes, it's a surprise that an unknown like Howson landed the coveted role. The 24-year-old had only tagged along with a friend to the audition after hearing the production was looking for dark-skinned males to play the role. Hundreds auditioned and were turned down. But, as co-producer Kevin Loader explains, Howson has a 'presence and dignity' that ultimately gave him the edge. The role of Heathcliff is his debut acting role. The film tells the story of gypsy boy Heathcliff (young version played by Solomon Glave), who's rescued from poverty and brought to live with the Earnshaw family. There he develops a very much forbidden relationship with Cathy Earnshaw (Kaya Scodelario, young version Shannon Beer). Sadly, their love is not strong enough to overcome society's conventions, especially when it comes to class and race.