David Poland and Gabriele Marcotti
June 20, 1997 AT 04:00 AM EDT

It’s been 100 years since Irish-born novelist-playwright Oscar Wilde was released from prison for practicing the ”love that dare not speak its name.” Nevertheless, the author’s gay sexual preference is still at the center of a controversy. Members of London’s Oscar Wilde Society are piqued over the possible casting of straight actor Liam Neeson in an as-yet-untitled Wilde biopic. ”It’s just not him,” society spokesman Andy McDonnell told EW recently. ”Sexual orientation was such an important part of Oscar’s psyche.” (He’s more partial to the upcoming British film Wilde, which stars society member Stephen Fry.) But the Oscar mire may all be for nought. The film, once on the roster at UA, has since been returned to the development shelf. And according to a spokesman for Neeson, the actor was just one of several being considered for the role.

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