Harvey Pekar was one of the most important, idiosyncratic, and eccentric writers that the comics medium has ever produced. He ushered in a new age of autobiographical realism to comic books and graphic novels, writing scripts that were illustrated by artists such as R. Crumb, Gary Dumm, Dean Haspiel, Drew Friedman, and Rick Geary. He enjoyed a brief period of TV stardom as an occasional guest on David Letterman’s NBC talk show, and his READ FULL STORY
Tag: Film Adaptations (31-40 of 43)
Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B, has reportedly bought the movie rights to Tom Rachman’s much-buzzed-about novel The Imperfectionists. Published in April, the book is an endearing comedy of manners set at a fictional English-language newspaper in Rome. Though some early reviews were mixed, Janet Maslin of the New York Times loved it, saying the novel was “a splendid original, filled with wit and structured so ingeniously that figuring out where the author is headed is half the reader’s fun.” Fueled by word-of-mouth praise, The Imperfectionists is beginning to take off; it’s now showing up on some best-seller lists.
Peter Jackson’s big-screen adaptation of The Lovely Bones lands in theaters this Friday, which presents me with a dilemma. You see, I’m one of those folks who really, truly intended to read Alice Sebold’s 2002 novel. (My colleague Karen Valby gave the book one of its very first raves and it’s been on my to-read list ever since.) But now I worry that I won’t have the time to do so before I see Jackson’s film adaptation, which stars Saoirse Ronan (Atonement), Rachel Weisz, and Mark Walhberg.
Sure, there have been plenty of movies I’ve seen without having read the book first. And many instances when I’ve gone back and read the source material afterwards (Sideways, The Sweet Hereafter). But seldom have I done so with a book as popular as The Lovely Bones. I know that there will doubtless be plotlines (and perhaps even characters) who will be missing from the movie. I know, too, that the book will invariably be better (as the book almost always is in these book vs. film showdowns). But I fret about all the other ways that the movie might color my impression of Sebold’s work. Will I envision the characters as the actors who play them — despite how Sebold might describe them? I know that I couldn’t help but picture Daniel Radcliffe when I was reading the later Harry Potter titles.
What about you? On book-based movies like The Lovely Bones, do you prefer to read the book first or let the movie serve as a long trailer for the story’s truest form, on paper (or Kindle screen)?
Looks like readers are hoping to save some trees this season. According to Amazon, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the company has sold a whopping 48 Kindle books for every 100 physical books it has sold this season. That number has risen significantly since May. Just six months ago, Amazon was selling just 35 Kindles for every 100 physical books sold.
It’s an impressive number, especially when you consider the price of the product. Consumers are expected to pony up $489 for the latest Kindle model.
But it looks like the Kindle’s power might extend beyond the publishing industry. The subscription-only publishing biz site Publishers Marketplace reported last week that Karen McQuestion’s A Scattered Life has apparently become the first self-published Kindle book to be acquired by a production company. (Producer Eric Lake optioned the rights for the L.A.-based outfit Hiding In Bed.) Though Hiding In Bed has yet to return EW’s calls regarding specifics of its plans for a film adaptation, McQuestion’s Life follows a restless Wisconsin housewife who befriends a psychic and a harried mother of five.
T.S. Eliot predicted that the world would end with a whimper rather than a bang, but this month it will have ended with both onscreen. Just weeks after the release of the destruct-o-thon 2012, John Hillcoat’s adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s grim and muted postapocalyptic novel The Road hits theaters Nov. 25. And where the former revels in the anonymity of pulverized cities and massive explosions, Hillcoat’s film faithfully relates the very personal tale of a father and son wandering the barren landscape of earth’s postscript. The book garnered nearly every accolade under the sun when it came out in 2006 and has topped a number of greatest books lists, including our own. Shelf Life spoke with the director about his experience adapting such formidable source material.
When I saw your first film, The Proposition, the first thing that came to my mind was that it was semi-apocalyptic. So you seemed like a good choice to adapt The Road.
Well, The Proposition was influenced by [McCarthy's] Blood Meridian, which is somewhat apocalyptic itself.
So I guess you were a big fan of Cormac McCarthy from the start.
Oh, yes. Definitely.
How did you get involved with The Road?
Well, it was because of that connection. I wanted to do a film in L.A. and I was talking about what authors I liked, and this was before No Country for Old Men, and I said that I loved McCarthy. So then I was very fortunate when I managed to get my hands on the manuscript of The Road before it was published. READ FULL STORY
If William Shakespeare were around today it’s unclear whether he’d have made it as a playwright. My guess is that he’d probably be credited as “Will Shakes,” and would be penning Off-Off-Broadway plays about the Iraq War and submitting spec scripts to Mad Men. So it’s lucky for us that he lived when he lived.
But that doesn’t stop filmmakers from bringing his work into the present day. The Hollywood Reporter has reported that Gerard Butler will be joining Ralph Fiennes in a contemporary adaptation of one of the lesser-produced Shakespearean tragedies, Coriolanus.
This isn’t the first time Shakespeare’s works have gotten a modern makeover. In fact it’s more like the 12,486th. So let’s take this opportunity to look back at the slew of attempts to bring the Bard up to date:
There is, of course, Baz Luhrmann’s version of Romeo & Juliet featuring the PYTs of the MTV generation: Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. It’s a good thing this was made in 1996 before cell phones were so ubiquitous. READ FULL STORY
If you’re planning to host a Halloween dinner this weekend and sell tickets online, you might want to check with your lawyers first. A Harry Potter fan in the U.K. who calls herself Ms. Marmite Lover was planning to host Potter-themed dinners this Saturday and Sunday — complete with butterbeer, pumpkin pasties, and Dumbledore’s favorite sweets (mint humbugs and sherbet lemons) — until she received a cease-and-desist letter last Friday from Warner Bros. suggesting that her “proposed use of the Harry Potter properties…without our consent would amount to an infringement of Warner’s rights,” according to the London Telegraph. The biggest problem for the legal team at the studio: Ms. Marmite Lover was selling tickets online for her event, making it commercial and not charitable in nature. But as the offending hostess explained in the Guardian, “My living room holds under 30 people, this is hardly some cynical money spinning exercise – at a maximum of £25 a head I won’t make a profit, I’ll be struggling to cover the costs of the ingredients and props I’ve shelled out on, such as dry ice and miracle berries.” (A rep for Warner — which is, like Entertainment Weekly, a division of Time Warner — had no comment.)
Ms. Marmite Lover, a 40-year-old single mom who’s been running occasional “underground restaurant” events in her home since January, has since renamed this weekend’s event “Generic Wizard Night.” And now she’s struggling to come up with a new menu. Pumpkin pasties pre-date J.K. Rowling’s best-selling series, so those are still safe, but not her version of a clear Rowling invention like butterbeer.
Now that Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are suggests that the primary audience for movies based on children’s books may not be kids at all, how long before we see something like this? (A hat tip to the Omnivoracious blog as well as Pigeon author Mo Willems’ own blog for pointing out this fan-created movie poster.) What other classic children’s stories might be adaptable into less-than-kid-friendly movies? Harriet the Spy recast as a female Bourne-type action heroine? Pat the Bunny set at the Playboy Mansion?
The Variety report this morning that Leonardo DiCaprio is attached to star in a film adaptation of John D. MacDonald’s The Deep Blue Good-Bye probably has some readers saying, “Leo playing Travis McGee?” and others saying, “Who’s Travis McGee?”
The Deep Blue Good-Bye, from 1964, was the first of MacDonald’s many books about Travis McGee, a tough-guy amateur detective (a “salvage consultant” is his preferred euphemism) who lives on a Florida houseboat called The Busted Flush. The McGee series is written in the first person, and the tone is hard-boiled and knowing. MacDonald put McGee through a lot of tough scrapes, and Stephen King is among MacDoanld’s many admirers, referring to the author as “the great entertainer of our age, a mesmerizing storyteller.”
Thing is, most people nowadays probably have no idea who this character is. Which probably works in DiCaprio’s favor, since the slim, sensitive-looking actor is not at all what most of us think about when we read a Travis McGee novel. Although MacDonald was smart about almost never describing what McGee looked like, I always pictured a brawny guy who could simultaneously pilot a boat and cuff a bad guy over the side into the ocean with ease.
In 1970, a blocky Rod Taylor played McGee in an adaptation of another novel, Darker Than Amber:
But Taylor didn’t quite have the magnetism that DiCaprio has. There was also a TV version of McGee, played by dolorous, mustached Sam Elliott in 1983, who had the laid-back part down, but not the man-of-action. (This McGee never made it past the TV-movie stage.)
Which raises the questions: Who’d make a better McGee? My colleague Thom Geier suggests Russell Crowe (he’s beefy enough) or Matthew McConaughey (excellent idea, since Matthew has the beach-bum aspect nailed). Any other suggestions?
Beyond that, are there movie stars you imagine when you read your favorite thriller writer? Have you ever imagined what leading man would make a good Jack Reacher from Lee Child’s books? Or Kay Scarpetta in Patricia Cornwell’s series? Or for that matter, Nathan Zuckerman in Philip Roth’s novels?