17 March 2010

Filmbook: Hollywood, Adapt These Please!

This entry was originally going to be a round-up of all the neat and of-note book adaptations coming to theatres this spring, except guess what? There are no good ones. Seriously, the only one I'm remotely excited about is the previously covered "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" and then it's all comedies and Nicholas Sparks adaptations until summer sequelmania. I must be getting old because I actually feel this is a legitimate gripe: What are we adults supposed to watch for the next two months?

So instead, I'm putting up this slate of four books that should be hot properties but of whose current adaptation I could find no evidence. Please chime in with our own! Second assistants, prepare to be promoted:

Orhan Pamuk, SNOW. International bestseller plus densely atmospheric prose equals winning a million Oscars. (I believe that's how James Cameron conceived "Avatar." And that joke is officially stale.) I'm seeing Liev Schreiber as the title character in this twisty story of long-lost love and systematic oppression.

Dan Savage, THE COMMITMENT. With the right script this could be the first mainstream gay romantic comedy to find an audience in the same way that "Brokeback Mountain" did for gay drama. ("Chuck and Larry" nothing.) Savage's memoir about his doubts over marrying his longtime partner is funny, heartfelt and makes it impossible for those who maintain that gay marriage is a "debate" that has nothing to do with love to carry on as they do. I'm fairly sure Savage will never allow a big-screen version of his memoir to come to fruition in his lifetime, but then again he's allowing a musical of one of his others, so it can't be any worse than that.

Harold Pinter, THE DWARFS. His long-lost (and never published till 2006) novel and my secret ace in the hole when it comes to taking snobby theater people down a peg. If a mumblecore director out there wants to step up and take on something scripted, this is more or less a mumblecore movie but set among London students in the '60s. My copy is underlined to hell because everyone in this book talks like someone I know or used to know.

Adam Langer, CROSSING CALIFORNIA. A sweet and pop-culture-savvy coming-of-age book set in Chicago in 1979; think an urban "Adventureland" with a little "Degrassi Junior High" on top. It would be a hard sell for mainstream success but if you cast mostly unknowns and aim it at people who liked "The Royal Tenenbaums," you'll have an arthouse hit.

Disclaimer: Everything I learned about the film industry, I learned from books like William Goldman's ADVENTURES IN THE SCREEN TRADE.

1 comment:

Nance said...

I want to see Ian McEwan's "The Innocent," Nancy Haloran's "Loving Frank," and, naturally, as many more of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series as Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany can bear.