January 31, 2006

"Curioser and curiouser!" cried Alice

Rocker Marilyn Manson is planning to play Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll in the movie "Phantasmagoria - The Visions Of Lewis Carroll," which Manson also wrote. "'He didn't want to wait for Cannes to do this, he's ready now,' said [producer] de la Mata, who hopes to complete filming this autumn," reports BBC News. (via Return of the Reluctant) --Kim

Update: Manson wants Jolie in the picture too.

Harper Lee on To Kill a Mockingbird Adaptation

Lauren at Lux Lotus sends a link to a NYTimes article on To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee and her involvement in an annual Alabama high school essay contest. About the 1962 adaptation of her novel starring Gregory Peck, Lee says, "I think it is one of the best translations of a book to film ever made." Sandra Bullock will star as Lee in "Infamous," an upcoming film about the author's childhood friend Truman Capote. An interesting side note: Lee lives with her 95 year-old sister who still practices law. --Kim

January 30, 2006

Striking While They're Hot: Depp and Jolie Co-Star in Wildly Romantic Adaptation

You might want to sit down for this. Beauteous megastars Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie are set to frolic on the moors as Heathcliff and Catherine in an adaptation of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, reports I Don't Like You In That Way.
"Depp, 42, who is a lover of the Bronte's literary works, once said during an interview: 'Am I a romantic? I've seen Wuthering Heights 10 times. I'm a romantic.'"


January 25, 2006

Shandy Ain't Shite

Having seen a screening of Michael Winterbottom's "Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story" last night, I can definitely give it my recommendation. Best described as a cross between a traditional period film and BBC's "The Office," this cleverly devised film jumps back-and-forth between Laurence Sterne's 18th century comic novel and the story of the British actors who are trying (with much difficulty) to get the film adaptation of the novel made. Both of these elements are replete with laugh-out-loud moments, thanks in particular to Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, who play themselves as rival actors vying for top-billing in the film-within-the-film. (The dialogue between these two in the first and last five minutes of the movie is worth the price of admission alone.) Gillian Anderson (see our Bleak House review, below) also has a small part in the film, playing herself, and Brit-flick fans will surely recognize many more castmembers, including Mr. Knightly himself, Jeremy Northam. If you like "This is Spinal Tap" as much as you love costume dramas, this is the movie for you. -- Amy

January 23, 2006

Oh, Emma, No!

Am I the only one who finds the "Nanny McPhee" promos weird and disturbing? Yes, the kiddies need to be entertained, and yes, the film touts Emma Thompson and Colin Firth as its stars (normally a winning combo, right?)...But the warts, the fake-o looking "magic," the dancing mule...? Even a five-year old version of myself would be turning up her nose. I need to go rent Howards End now to restore my faith in Emma, and the world. -- Amy

And What WAS the Point Again, Woody?

Lauren and Emma provide a spot on review of Woody Allen's Match Point, which very loosely mines some of the psychological territory of Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. --Kim

Legally Bound: Bleak House Episode 1

Last night PBS's Masterpiece Theatre aired the first episode in a six-part BBC adaptation of Dickens' epic critique of the Victorian legal system. In just under two perfectly dark and thrilling hours, and seemingly without losing a beat, director Andrew Davies managed to adroitly navigate the complex legal and personal relationships without sacrificing character development or cinematography. Gillian Anderson is wonderfully cast as the woefully majestic Lady Dedlock, who has more than a passing interest in the Opium-related death of law-writer and mystery man who goes by the name of "Nemo." Anna Maxwell Martin is equally captivating as the "disgraced" Esther Summerson. But my personal favorite so far has to be Burn Gorman as Mr. Guppy, the eccentric (and dare I say Tim Burton-esque!) young law clerk who sets his cap for Esther. How lovely that there are five more weeks of Bleak to enjoy! --Kim

January 20, 2006

VCR Alert

One last reminder to tune into Masterpiece Theater on PBS on Sunday to see Gillian Anderson in Part One of "Bleak House," a BBC Production. We'll weigh in on it here early next week! -- Amy

January 18, 2006

Adaptions that Don't Appeal

"New Book-to-TV Adaptation "Love Monkey" Offers Only Bland Appeal" (The Book Standard)

Entre Nous is worried about the adaptation of Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. --Kim

PT Anderson to Adapt Upton Sinclair's "Oil!"

Variety reports that Fiona Apple's ex-boyfriend Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia) will adapt Upton Sinclair's ranch novel about "greed and faith." "Oil!" will star Larry Hagman... I mean Daniel Day-Lewis as an oil prospector who discovers Texas Tea on a family ranch. Apparently Day-Lewis was so smitten with his character that he turned down other roles to keep his calendar clear for Anderson. Filming begins this spring. I loved Magnolia, so I'm looking forward to this one.--Kim

January 17, 2006

Quiz: Which Lady of Camelot Are You?

I'm Igraine, mother of King Arthur! Take the quiz here. -- Amy

Tonight: Get Smart

Looking for some cerebral fare tonight after feasting gluttonously on last night's episode of "The Bachelor?" (Oh, don't deny it.) Turn to PBS at 10 p.m. for Part One of a National Geographic documentary based on Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel, a scholarly look at how advancements in technology and civilization shaped the course of history from the Ice Age on. Truth be told, I tried tackling the book only to give up before the germs and steel came into play. Maybe I'll do better watching a documentary version, what with all the pretty pictures and stuff. -- Amy

January 15, 2006

Oh, the Glamour!

I re-read The Thin Man last fall and then stuck the movie on my Netflix queue and promptly forgot about it until it showed up in my mailbox last weekend. No wonder everyone raves about this movie. It's splendid and oh so glamorous! Myrna Loy's fantastic costumes, the witty repartee, the romantic train ride to San Francisco in a private car. It's not as hard-boiled as the book but it's perfect in its own way. I don't know how I managed not to see it all these years, but it's such a pleasure to know there are still wonderful movies out there that I haven't yet seen. I only hope the sequels are half as good. --Kim

January 11, 2006

Eggers and Jonze go "Wild"

Variety reports that Warner Bros. has taken up a movie adaptation of Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are where Universal once left off. Director Spike Jonze will helm the project based on a script he penned with "heartbreaking genius" Dave Eggers. The film supposedly will be a live action project. Hmmmm...Let's hope it doesn't go the way of "The Cat in the Hat." -- Amy

January 10, 2006

Next in Narnia...

Dark Horizons reports that "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" is indeed in the works. (Like we didn't see THAT coming?) In this, the fourth installment of Lewis's series, the four siblings return to Narnia and together with Aslan help restore Prince Caspian to the throne by fighting the evil King Mirax. -- Amy

Behind the Veils

Just finished Azar Nafisi's wonderful Reading Lolita in Tehran which any bibliophile would adore. I'll be very intrigued to see the movie version, which is purported to star "House of Sand and Fog" Oscar nominee (and Tehran native) Shohreh Aghdashloo. -- Amy

January 9, 2006

Whereabouts: Johnny Depp

In addition to possibly preparing for a role in a Tim Burton adaptation of "Sweeney Todd" (see below), Depp is negotiating the film rights to Scottish author James Meeks' novel The People's Act of Love, reports The Scotsman. Publisher's Weekly describes the novel thusly:
Set during the waning days of the Russian revolution, Meek's utterly absorbing novel (after The Museum of Doubt) captivates with its depiction of human nature in all its wartime extremes. In 1919, the remote Siberian town of Yazyk contains a strange brew of humanity: the docile members of a mystical Christian sect, whose longing for purity drives them to self-mutilation; a small outfit of Czech troops, marooned by the civil war and led by the mad cocaine-snorting Captain Matula; and "the widow" Anna Petrovna, whose passion for worldly things (e.g., photography and men) isolates her from the devout townspeople. When the charismatic revolutionary, Samarin, trudges into town with a harrowing tale of escape from a distant labor camp and a dangerous philosophy, Yazyk becomes a theater of bloodshed and betrayal as well as heroism and compassion. Using the town as a microcosm of the larger war, Meek illuminates both perverted ideology and irrepressible humanity. With confident prose, layered storytelling and prodigious imagination, he combines scenes of heart-pounding action and jaw-dropping revelations with moments of quiet tension and sly humor. This original, literary page-turner succeeds both with its credible psychological detail and in its grandeur and sweep.
Sounds fantastic! Depp's current release The Libertine (pictured above) opens on the 13th. --Kim

January 8, 2006

Depp and Burton Go In for the Kill

It's not official yet, but word on the street is that Johnny Depp and Tim Burton are planning to do a ripping film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's musical "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street." Brilliant! --Kim

January 5, 2006

Random Musing...

Whatever happened to turning Donna Tartt's The Secret History into a movie? I can't believe it never happened. In college my friend Meg and I appointed a few of the 'hiperati' in our school's Greek/Latin scholars program to serve as the characters in that novel, including a rather banal, dopey chap we privately dubbed "Bunny." Any thoughts on who you'd cast if a movie were made today? Adam Brody and Scarlett Johanssen came to my mind for a start. --Amy

January 4, 2006

Bill & Miguel's Excellent Adventures?

Call it a "buddy flick" starring Shakespeare and Cervantes. Variety reports that "Van Helsing's" Elena Anaya will star as the love interest in "Miguel and William," a romantic comedy that imagines the two authors as best buds. Filming begins next month. -- Amy

Cents and Sensibility

The only time I will ever post anything having to do with mathematics... The splendid Lux Lotus links to this article in The Economist that asks and answers the question "What did early 19th century literary characters live on?" Well, we know it wasn't always their wit. --Kim

Rickman's Rasputin

So I just finished reading a biography of Rasputin by Brian Moynahan, and (as if I didn't already know) found out that this Russian holy man wasn't just skeevy, he was SKEEVY. The book was probably a bit more detailed than any normal person would want to pour through, so if you ever want a quick account of this creep, you might want to check out the 1996 movie version starring Alan Rickman. (Hard to believe that Sense & Sensibility's sheepish and sensitive Colonel Brandon could also be Russia's scary sex fiend!) -- Amy

January 3, 2006

Touching the "Void"

The January issue of our new favorite online literary magazine, VoidMagazine.com, comes out today featuring plenty for you to chew on as relates to literary adaptations. Yours truly (that's Kim and I) even have an essay featured among the other reviews and editorial musings, including interviews with author Clara Bingham, whose Class Action was adapted into a screenplay for the film "North Country" by Michael Seitzman. Void is smart AND funny -- a sexy combo if ever there was one. I particularly enjoy the "Buy A Friend A Book" lists. They're on the lookout for submissions, too, so go check them out. -- Amy

Tivo Alert...

Sadly, I missed a recent airing of "My Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet with Baz Luhrmann" which apparently aired over the new year on PBS. My friend Devin says it's a must-see documentary following a group of amateur actors from London's inner city as they attempt to put on the show (in London's esteemed West End, no less). From a Muslim "Juliet" who can barely look Romeo in the eyes, let alone kiss him, to street thugs who know a thing or two about real violence (as opposed to stage fighting), this unlikely group of thesbians come out of the four-week experience changed men and women. From what I can tell, various public television stations will be re-airing the program, so check local listings and catch it if you can. -- Amy

Trailer Park

Two new trailers for films based on books are up, Running with Scissors (Annette Bening, Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Brian Cox) and Thank You for Smoking (Aaron Eckhart, Maria Bello, Rob Lowe). I feel like there have been way too many trailers featuring Elton John tunes. I think I reached my limit, oh back at Moonlight Mile. Now I just feel kind of used. --Kim

The Bronte Brother

Soft Skull Press has released a fictional novel about the other Bronte, entitled Branwell: A Novel of the Bronte Brother. Branwell "traces the life of Branwell Bronte, the sole brother of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Bronte, from childhood to his alcohol and opium induced death at the age of 31." Find out more about the book here. Sounds intriguing! This may have to be one of the 75 books I'll read this year.--Kim

Turned On/Tuned In

Mark your calendars: Here are the adaptations, etc. headed your way this month:


*Masterpiece Theatre will rerun Henry VIII with Ray Winstone as the blood-thirsty king and Helena Bonham Carter as Anne Boleyn on January 8 and 15.
*We've been eagerly awaiting the controversial new Bleak House adaptation from the BBC which is spread out over six Sundays beginning on the 22nd. For more on this adaptation see our previous posts: Battle Over Bleak House (or Why We Love England) and Bleak House Gets Soaped. Plus: Here's the official BBC Bleak House site. The bliss of six whole Sunday nights of Bleak House to look forward to... I can hardly wait.

*James Franco (Spider-Man, The Company, Never Been Kissed, James Dean biopic), Sophia Myles (Nicholas Nickleby, Mansfield Park), and Rufus Sewell (Middlemarch, Cold Comfort Farm) will star in Tristan & Isolde. IMDB says: "A pet project of Ridley and Tony Scott, T&I is reportedly heavy on the action -- a sort-of Robin Hood/Count of Monte Cristo vibe running through it." Hmm... Opens January 13. --Kim

January 2, 2006

Your Chocolate and My Peanut Butter

It's like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup for adaptation lovers... Poets & Writers has a short piece on a new collection of classic novels packaged with a DVD of their corresponding film adaptation. A collaboration between Penguin divisions, Signet Classics and Chamberlain Bros., the titles include Anna Karenina and The Scarlet Letter. --Kim