The Trailer Hitch: This is Where I Leave You

Jonathan Tropper wrote the script for this upcoming adaptation of his bestselling novel, This Is Where I Leave You. The terrific cast includes Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Corey Stoll, and Adam Driver as a dysfunctional family who reunite after the death of their father and, in the Jewish tradition of sitting shiva, spend seven days and nights living in the same house.

Two Books, One Double Agent

Philby Lionsgate recently acquired the TV rights to Ben Macintyre’s new biography, A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and The Great Betrayal. The book was published in the UK last month and will be released in the US in July by Crown Publishers. Harold “Kim” Philby was one of the world’s most notorious double agents, who, after being recruited as a student at Cambridge University, becomes a high-ranking member of British intelligence and provides secret information to the Russians for over 20 years, before defecting to the Soviet Union in 1963. Continue reading →

Roland Emmerich Buys Rights to Historical Novel ‘Maya Lord’

Maya LordDeadline is reporting that Roland Emmerich’s Centropolis Entertainment has bought the screen rights to Maya Lord, John Coe Robbin’s 2011 historical novel about Gonzalo Guerrero, the Spanish adventurer who was shipwrecked with his crew in 1511 on the shores of the New World and taken prisoner by a Mayan tribe. Learning to adapt to a foreign and sometimes hostile culture, Guerrero marries the daughter of a powerful chieftain and eventually helps the Maya defend against Cortes and other Spanish conquistadors. Guerrero is considered a hero in Mexico and the father of the first Mestizo family, whose people are of both Spanish and Native American descent.

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And Now, 10 Spectacular Ways the Movie Was Different from the Book

Drinking and Driving in Oklahoma
  1. No Walter. Walter is the six-year-old boy that Sutter finds standing alone outside the convenience store after buying a 7UP to go with his 10 a.m. whiskey. Sutter buys Walter breakfast, and then offers him a ride to wherever he’s going. Turns out it’s Florida to visit his Dad, but since that’s “a good five states away” from Oklahoma where they live, Sutter drives him home instead.  Continue reading →

Carey Mulligan joins “Madding Crowd”

Far From the Madding Crowd

After taking on the ethereal Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby, Carey Mulligan will soon play a less fragile but equally desired literary heroine in a new adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s classic 1874 novel, “Far From the Madding Crowd.” Mulligan has been cast as Bathsheba Everdene, the beautiful and headstrong young farm girl who is pursued by three different suitors—the humble fellow farmer Gabriel Oak, the wealthy dullard William Boldwood, and the dashing, womanizing Sergeant Francis Troy. It’s easy to imagine where this “love square” might lead us, but Hardy expertly crafts a tale that’s rich in character and place. His Bathsheba is vividly drawn, a strong and resourceful woman who learns to run a farm on her own, only to risk losing her independence to the men who love her. She’s a literal ancestor to the self-reliant female protagonist of today. “The Hunger Games” author Suzanne Collins acknowledges that her Katniss Everdeen, no delicate flower, takes her name from Hardy’s heroine.

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Child 44 Starts Filming


Production has just begun on the long-awaited for adaptation of Tom Rob Smith’s debut novel, Child 44. Ridley Scott optioned the rights back in 2008 before the book was published and had plans to direct the next year, but despite the book’s huge success (a national bestseller that’s been published in almost 30 countries) and with a script by Richard Price, the movie never got off the ground. Smith had actually conceived the story as a screenplay before his agent wisely suggested he trying writing it as a novel instead. He’s since written two other books in the series (The Secret Speech and Agent 6), so there’s the potential of a trilogy if the film does well–which I’m sure didn’t hurt its chances of finally getting a green light. Scott is still producing, with Daniel Espinosa (Safe House) on to direct Price’s script.

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The Hobbit: Enter the Dragon

I made the mistake of seeing the first installment of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit in its awful High Frame Rate incarnation. I should have known better. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy was spectacular in regular old 2D, 24 frames per second. I didn’t leave the theater saying, “That was great, but I wonder what it would have looked like at double the frame speed?” Still, I bought into the hype of this new technology and trusted that Jackson knew what he was doing. He said this was going to be the future of cinema! But as soon as the film started, I was distracted by its paradoxical hyper-realism. This was not the magical world I fell in love with 10 years earlier–this was a set, and an expensive one at that, and my premium ticket was now going to help pay for it.

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Novel Film Review: The Great Gatsby

Gatsby posterjacket

A Novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald
A Film by Baz Luhrmann 

The star of this fanciful and mostly faithful adaptation of The Great Gatsby is the book itself. When we first see the battered billboard of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg standing watch among the ash-heaps—a pair of glasses framing unblinking eyes, a familiar blue-cast background, and the carnival lights of the city below—it evokes the now iconic cover of the 1925 novel. This is by design. Publisher Charles Scribner’s Sons famously commissioned the jacket art—the floating, spectral image of Daisy Buchanan peering out from above the night sky of Coney Island—well before the manuscript was completed, and Fitzgerald liked it so much he wrote it into his novel. The Queens-based optometrist towers over the landscape and the story, just as the book towers over the film.

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