August 31, 2006

Ioan Gets Distributed!

"Amazing Grace, the drama about British parliamentarian William Wilberforce (portrayed by Ioan Gruffudd) and his campaign to abolish the slave trade, has scored a distribution deal on the eve of its world premiere."

Related from the Archives: Save Horatio Hornblower, Rumor Has It, Great Expectations and Then Some, Whereabouts: Ioan Gruffud, A "Period" Pause, Ioan Learns Yiddish & Shows Some Skin. "Hot!"


Bloom Avoids Jumping Shark

Orlando Bloom has turned-down David Hasselhoff's request that he play his son in the 2008 film version of Knight Rider. Good boy, Orlando! (although me thinks the camp factor of a KF movie could be exquisite...) From Digital Spy.

Apparently, "The Hoff" ran into Bloom in Hollywood and asked him if he'd take on the part....AWKWARD!!!! I am happy to hear that Bloom is not too erudite to enjoy a bit of ’80s primetime cheese, however. He admits to liking Knight Rider as a kid, along with his favorites: The Fall Guy and The A-Team. -- Amy

Casting Couch: I Saw This Thing on ITV the Other Week

We previously reported that ITV is adapting three! Austen novels for their upcoming season. Here's the who's who: Doctor Who's Billie Piper will play Mansfield Park's Fannie Price, Sally Hawkins is Anne Elliot in Persuasion, and Felicity Jones will be the excitable Catherine Morland in the Andrew Davies' adapted faux-gothic Northanger Abbey.

Lee Evans will play the lead in a t.v. adaptation of HG Wells The History of Mr. Polly says Digital Spy.

The fantastic Ellen Burstyn (Requiem for a Dream) will star in a film adaptation of Margaret Laurence's novel The Stone Angel.

Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe will portray Rudyard Kipling's son in ITV's My Boy Jack.


August 28, 2006

Robin Hood, Ransomed?

Apparently, tapes from the highly anticipated BBC series, Robin Hood, were stolen recently. Actually, I think Robin Hood would have approved, as long as the tapes were forwarded to the poor (people like me who don't subscribe to the pricey cable package that includes BBC America.) I rather like the looks of this series by the way. Robin (played by newcomer Jonas Armstrong) and Maid Marian (Lucy Griffiths) are both young and good-looking. I'm picturing the O.C. meets Sherwood Forest. -- Amy

Love from The Happy Booker

The Happy Booker's Wendi Kaufman lists Romancing the Tome as one of her top 5 recommended blogs in an interview with Bloggasm. Thanks, Wendi! --Kim

August 25, 2006

Famous Firsts

The Guardian has an essay today about famous first lines in novels. It reminds me of a book I was recently given: It Was a Dark and Stormy Night — The Best (?) from the Bulwer-Lytton Contest, which compiles the most ridiculous opening sentences from the worst novels never written (compiled by Scott Rice and dating back to 1984, strangely.)

I will share a smattering of my favorites:

You name it, I've seen it — the depths, the pits, the bottom; Vic Steele's the name, and proctology's my game. -- William J. O'Malley, S.J.

"Aw, hell," groaned the contessa, who, up to that point had shown no interest in the conversation. -- T. Manning Powers

I was a fifty-four year old male virgin, but I'm all right now. -- Arden Ohl

Dick Straith may have been captain of the football team but why, he thought, should that stop him from wearing his sister's tube top. -- Scott Davis Jones

The rain splattered down on the tables of the cafe like raisins dropped by uncaring gods. -- Patricia A. Folkerth

For more on the Bulwer-Lytton contest for atrocious opening sentences (and the winners from this year), click here. -- Amy

My Summertime Gripe...

Regular readers of Romancing the Tome who are also fans of PBS's Masterpiece Theater may have noted the glaring absence of coverage of the recent Masterpiece Theater offerings. The reason, plain and simple, is because their "Mystery!" series bores the living crap out of me. Now granted, maybe if I actually would take the time to watch any of these Miss Marple/Inspector Morse (et al) features, I might actually enjoy them. But I've never much liked reading mysteries, so my thought is always, "eh. I'll skip it." (There are exceptions to the rule, of course. I enjoyed watching Rupert Everett play Sherlock Holmes earlier in the year, but that had the added bonus of being period-y enough to capture my interest.)

So here is my plea: If I am totally off-base here and have been missing loads of riveting television by not tuning into MT all summer, would someone please give me a head's up? Only a testimonial from a RomTome reader would convince me it's worth watching. Mind you, as we previously reported, I do applaud the series' use of Edward Gorey art in the opening credits. -- Amy

Cannot WAIT!

Dark Horizons has the deets on the latest casting for Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "Love in the Time of Cholera." Mike Newell (he of the incredibly crappy "Mona Lisa Smiles" but of the pretty commendable "Enchanted April" and "Four Weddings and a Funeral") directs. -- Amy

August 24, 2006

Gandolfini To Play Papa

Looks like James Gandolfini has the manly man roles covered. Although he'll soon kiss mob boss Tony Soprano goodbye, he's set to play writer Ernest Hemingway in a new HBO movie about the author's tempestuous relationship with WWII correspondent Martha Gellhorn (played by Robin Wright Penn). Gellhorn became his third wife shortly before he published "For Whom the Bell Tolls," but she pretty much loathed the guy by the time their marriage fell apart. I love me my Tony Soprano and I suppose he's practiced in playing an asshole womanizer, but I'm still a little skeptical . I'll reserve judgment until I see it. -- Amy

August 23, 2006

Gothic Mansion to Host 'Sexy' Dracula

Earlier this week we reported that the BBC is remaking Bram Stoker's Dracula. Now we're getting a glimpse of Tyntesfield, the "full-blooded Gothic-Revival extravaganza, richly decorated with naturalistic stone carving" where some scenes from the adaptation are to be filmed. --Kim

New Mysteries of Pittsburgh Cast Revelation!

Nick Nolte joins the cast of the Mysteries of Pittsburgh adaptation, which as we previously reported, includes Sienna Miller (yawn), Peter Saarsgaard, Mena Suvari, and Jon Forster. Wonder what trouble Nolte will get into during the making of this film which may or may not actually be filmed in Pittsburgh. I thought about it, but I just couldn't post the poor guy's mug shot. --Kim

August 22, 2006

20 Years Later: A New Room with a View?

Nicki posted today about the anniversary of the exquisite Merchant Ivory adaptation of E.M. Forster's A Room with a View. It truly is an incredible movie and I have to watch it and re-read the book no less than once a year. (The novel is on my list of life-changing reads.) There are so many achingly wonderful moments and the chemistry between Julian Sands and Helena Bonham Carter is off the charts. But, here's some news for you: Andrew Davies is following up his success with Bleak House by adapting A Room with a View for ITV. I'm looking forward to watching it (and can't wait to find out who he will cast), but know it will never take the place of the Merchant Ivory production. --Kim

August 20, 2006

Is That A Dagger...or a Boomerang?

I just watched the trailer for Macbeth, a modern redo set in the ganglands of Melbourne. (Why does the idea of Australian gang members not really scare me?) Frankly, the preview reminded me a little of a bad music video from the early 1990s. Even for Macbeth, it seems a bit intense. It comes out in September.

By the way, if you've yet to see MacHomer (one man's stage performance of the entire Shakespeare play using the characters from "The Simpsons,") it's freakin' fantastic. I've seen it twice, and I'd go again. Check it out if it ever travels to anywhere even remotely near your 'hood. -- Amy

August 19, 2006

D&G ads....

Can't afford Dolce & Gabbana threads, but at least I can appreciate their latest ad campaign, which has a very "Romancing the Tome" feel. See a long, painfully slow slide show of the cool pics at the D&G site, or pick up the latest copy of Vanity Fair. -- Amy

August 16, 2006

Historic Newby Hall Hosts Mansfield Park Adaptation

The Yorkshire Post reports that "Dr. Who's former assistant Billie Piper is to star in a remake of Mansfield Park to be filmed at Newby Hall in North Yorkshire." The adaptation will premiere on ITV in 2007. --Kim

Will Smith Wants to Suck Your Blood

In vampire adaptation #2 this week, Will Smith will begin filming I Am Legend next month. He'll actually play a vampire hunter in the film, due out in November '07. It's based on a novel by Richard Matheson and Francis Lawrence (Constantine) directs. --Kim

August 14, 2006

Mary-Louise Parker in Atwood Adaptation

Angels in America's Mary-Louise Parker (also of Fried Green Tomatoes, The Portrait of a Lady, Weeds, and, famously, Billy Crudup's jilted ex) is filming a T.V. movie adaptation of Margaret Atwood's The Robber Bride, which will be shown on the Oxygen network. IMDB also reveals that the Counting Crows song "Butterfly in Reverse" was written for MLP. --Kim

Lord of the Black Flies

Darren Aronofsky director (of Pi and the devastating Requiem for a Dream) will direct Sopranos' writer Todd Kessler's adaptation of "Black Flies," a novel by Shannon Burke, for Paramount.

The Hollywood Reporter: "The novel follows a young man who becomes an emergency medical technician in Harlem as a temporary stop before he enters medical school. While there, he experiences a range of crises and stressful misadventures while under the eye of a mentor who has been numbed to the point that he makes a wrong decision in a life-or-death situation."--Kim

Modern Gothic

The BBC will once again adapt Bram Stoker's Dracula for television. The 1977 version featured Louis Jourdan while the new adaptation will star Marc Warren, Rafe Spall (the upcoming Wide Sargasso Sea), and Sophia Myles (Underworld: Evolution, Tristan + Isolde, Art School Confidential) . --Kim

August 11, 2006

Cast Your Vote: Who Should Play Scrooge?

News that Lasse Hallstrom (Chocolat, Cider House Rules, Casanova, What's Eating Gilbert Grape) has been pegged to direct an adapation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol makes me wonder who should play the old codger in the latest version.

I'm thinking it would need to be someone who wouldn't totally annihilate a British accent. Maybe if Keith Richards nails his role in the next Pirates, he'll be a shoe-in! -- Amy

Searching for Sherlock

221b Baker Street: The address of fictitious detective Sherlock Holmes.

Strange but true: Apparently, the real London address (now the Sherlock Holmes museum) frequently gets letters from people (usually children) looking for Holmes's help in solving crimes. In fact, a man named Guy Kyraicou has been "official secretary to Holmes" since 1994, answering these letters (about 30 to 40 a week) by responding that "Mr. Holmes has retired to Sussex where he spends his time reviewing the records of his cases and keeping bees..." (This according to James Leavey's The London of Sherlock Holmes.)

Sherlock's Secretary
is a film that will explore this bizarre phenomenon, to be directed by "Chicken Little's" Mark Dindal. The romantic action-comedy will tell the saga of a man living at that address who receives one of these letters and decides to tackle the mystery on his own. In doing so, his world becomes suddenly not-so-elementary. -- Amy

August 8, 2006

M. Night's Latest Pity Party

In order to prevent any more bashing from the media, director M. Night "Cry Me a River" Shyamalan says he's considered not including his name on his next film, an adaptation of Yann Martel's The Life of Pi. (As if he could really keep his involvement on this highly anticipated project on the down-low?) The best-selling book recounts the survival tale of an Indian boy and a dangerous Bengal tiger, both trapped on a small lifeboat in the middle of the Pacific ocean. Considering Shyamalan has a penchant for waxing philosophical in his films, I'm guessing he'll do a good job with this. I loved the book, which I read while snowed in for several days in Cincinnati a few Christmases ago. I was thrilled to have this book to pass the time. -- Amy

All Hell is Breaking Loose

An innovative film adaptation of Dante's Inferno uses paper cut-outs and live action puppetry to tell the tale of one man's descent into the bowels of hell...on earth. Dermot Mulroney and James Cromwell provide the voices for the sojourner, Dante, and his mullet-sporting guide, Virgil. Unlike the standard levels of hell recounted in Dante Alighieri's epic work, the film leads Dante on a path that showcases other horrors: the Department of Homeland Security, sewage filled rivers, Satanic car dealerships and grisley gated communities. Punishment for the condemned includes having to dance to techno music for all of eternity. (Isn't that enough to convert anyone?) View the trailer here. -- Amy

Le Vogue!

The new Vogue cover, via PITNB. --Kim

August 7, 2006

The Maltese Falcon

"He looked rather pleasantly like a blond satan." -- Dashiell Hammett describing his private detective protagonist, Sam Spade.

Just watched John Huston's The Maltese Falcon for the first time over the weekend. For those of you that have already seen it (which is probably most of you) here's some trivia about the movie courtesy of

• The movie mirrors Hammett's novel almost word-for-word and scene-for-scene.

• Bogey's final line, "It's the stuff that dreams are made of," was a Shakespeare reference suggested by the actor himself. It was voted the #14 best movie quote of all time by the American Film Institute.

• Two falcon statues were used for the film because Bogey (whoops!) dropped the first one. The mildly bashed bird is now on display at the movie museum at Warner Bros. studio.

• The "Maltese Falcon" itself is said to have been inspired by the "Kniphausen Hawk," a ceremonial pouring vessel made in 1697 for George William von Kniphausen, Count of the Holy Roman Empire. It is modeled after a hawk perched on a rock and is encrusted with red garnets, amethysts, emeralds and blue sapphires. The vessel is currently owned by the Duke of Devonshire and is part of the Chatsworth collection.

Seen this movie a million times? Test your trivia knowledge by taking this quiz. -- Amy

What People are Saying About Miss Potter...

An early review of "Miss Potter" at Ain't It Cool News gives the Zellweger/MacGregor flick mixed reviews, saying "it isn't terrible by any means," and commending the performances, but claiming it relies too much on some of the same film devices we saw in the J.M. Barrie biopic, "Finding Neverland." Take it with a grain of salt, considering the reviewer goes by the name "Bean Dip." -- Amy

August 3, 2006

Wherabouts: Leonardo DiCaprio

I feel like we're due for another "Leo in period costume" film. The closest we may get anytime soon is seeing him play a young Teddy Roosevelt in next year's The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, directed by Martin Scorsese and based on the book by Edmund Morris. He'll also supposedly play a part in the adaptation of Malcolm Gladwell's Blink, a series of short stories detailing how people are often forced to make snap decisions in the blink of an eye. (Syriana writer/director Steven Gaghan directs that one.) Leo's also set to play Peter Chancellor in Robert Ludlum's The Chancellor Manuscript, about an author who gets tangled up in Washington politics and a blackmail plot to alter U.S. policy.

Finally, I remember hearing that DiCaprio was in talks to play Robert Jordan in my favorite Hemingway novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls. That's news from a while back, however, and I'm not sure that ever panned out. I think he'd be great in it. (And it's about time they did a remake. The last one starred Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman.) Speaking of Hemingway, have you heard about the controversy surrounding his six-toed cats? Shouldn't the USDA have better things to do with their time (and our money)? -- Amy

Summer Camp with St. Ives

Last night I watched the rollicking 1998 BBC adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's St. Ives. It was actually one Amy and I should've viewed together because it was very silly and campy and we like that (see: Poldark). And it co-stars Richard E. Grant, whom we also adore (see: The Scarlet Pimpernel), as a bumbling British officer who looks to his French prisoner Captain Jacques de Keroual de Saint-Yves (oh how I love a man in a Napoleon-era uniform) for advice on how to woo women. Miranda Richardson gives a fine comedic performance as the spirited Miss Susan Emily Gilcrist. There's also plenty of sword fighting and a masquerade ball if you need further enticement.--Kim

August 2, 2006

Casting Couch: The Witchy Women Edition

Eva Green and Nicole Kidman will star in the adaptation of Pillip Pullman's The Golden Compass while Helena Bonham Carter is now officially attached to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Kidman will, naturally, be playing the other wicked Mrs. Coulter in TGC, which is the first in the highly-anticipated His Dark Materials trilogy. --Kim