Sunday, June 17, 2018

Rupert Everett is the not-so happy Oscar Wilde in The Happy Prince: Watch! #trailer

Discover the story of Oscar Wilde’s Lost Years

Rupert Evert is Oscar Wilde in The Happy Prince. Actor turned writer/director has chosen an ironic title for his biopic based on the later years of the writer of The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Happy Prince along with a slew of other not quite so famous works. 

“Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.’’ Oscar Wilde

In his lifetime the oh so quotable Wilde was beset by hate in those much less open times. The film also stars Colin Firth, Emily Watson, Tom Wilkinson, Colin Morgan and Edwin Thomas. 

Rupert Everett IS Oscar Wilde

While the movie opened on June 15th in the UK, here in the US we’ll have to wait for its October 5th. In the meantime, the reviews are coming in, and as the poster blurbs indicate, they’re pretty damn great!

The untold story of the last days in the tragic times of Oscar Wilde, a person who observes his own failure with ironic distance and regards the difficulties that beset his life with detachment and humor.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Reading the Books of The Great American Read: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

I was profoundly moved by this book in my youth, relating to Francie even though we weren’t impoverished, my father wasn’t an alcoholic and the neighbors didn’t deride us. Like Francie, I adored my dad who was often gone away on business. And like Francie, I loved to read and was often lost in the pages of a book. I watched the movie on television back in the day but as far as I can tell it’s not widely available anymore so no instant streaming recommendation on Netflix or Amazon. 

Peggy Ann Garner as Francie with Jame Dunn as Johnny in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Perhaps with the renewed attention the PBS Great American Read program brings, the film will get reissued just as the book is. Harper Collins has just released a nice fresh paperback edition. Remember the story? 
The American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the century.
From the moment she entered the world, Francie needed to be made of stern stuff, for the often harsh life of Williamsburg demanded fortitude, precocity, and strength of spirit. Often scorned by neighbors for her family’s erratic and eccentric behavior—such as her father Johnny’s taste for alcohol and Aunt Sissy’s habit of marrying serially without the formality of divorce—no one, least of all Francie, could say that the Nolans’ life lacked drama. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the Nolans’ daily experiences are tenderly threaded with family connectedness and raw with honesty. Betty Smith has, in the pages of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, captured the joys of humble Williamsburg life-from “junk day” on Saturdays, when the children of Francie’s neighborhood traded their weekly take for pennies, to the special excitement of holidays, bringing cause for celebration and revelry. Betty Smith has artfully caught this sense of exciting life in a novel of childhood, replete with incredibly rich moments of universal experiences—a truly remarkable achievement for any writer.

The screen version, directed by Elie Kazan, starred Dorothy Mcguire as Francie’s mother Katie Nolan, James Dunn as Francie's alcoholic father, Joan Blondell as the scandalous Aunt Sissy, with Lloyd Nolan and Peggy Ann Garner as Francie. The screenplay was nominated for writing and James Dunn won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. I’d love to see this movie again! Twentieth Century Fox, I’m talking to you!

Friday, June 15, 2018

The Children Act stars Emma Thompson. And it looks devastating. #book2movie

Emma Thompson stars in The Children Act

This trailer turns me inside out. Emma Thompson, based on the book The Children Act by Ian McEwan. We first learned about the screen adaptation which also stars Stanley Tucci and Mark Strong back in 2016.  But I’ve already said too much. Just watch the trailer. This will be a conversation starter, that’s for certain.

The Children Act comes out on September 14.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

When did Ewan McGregor become middle-aged? Casting Danny Torrance in Dr. Sleep #book2movie #review

Ewan McGregor is 47. If that’s not bloody middle-aged, I don’t know what is!

When did Ewan McEwan get to be so old? I guess he'll always be that fresh-faced lover boy in Moulin Rouge to me. One of my faves, besides playing the middle-aged Christopher Robin in Christopher Robin coming this summer, McGregor is going to play the now middle-aged Danny Torrance in Dr. Sleep, the Warner Bros adaptation of Stephen King's sequel to The Shining. And according to Variety King approves. While the original film was considered a box office disappointment, making just forty-four million buckaroos back in 1977, it’s gone on to be one of the greatest horror classics of all time. Will Dr. Sleep be as popular? King’s 50th book, Dr. Sleep hit the #1 slot the week it was published in 2013 so it’s got a giant fan base*, not to mention the rest of us still mesmerized by The Shining’s mythology.

Stephen King returns to the character and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.
On highways across America, a tribe of people called the True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, the True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the steam that children with the shining produce when they are slowly tortured to death.
Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel, where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant shining power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”
Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of devoted readers of The Shining and satisfy anyone new to this icon in the King canon.

Did you read Dr. Sleep? Are you ready to see little Danny—you can picture him riding his trike down the hall, right?—all grown up? And does all grown up Danny look like Ewan McGregor to you?

*Maybe not such a giant fan base! I spoke with my twitter friend @rorysbooks after posting this blog who asked me if I'd read the book:

Naturally, I asked if I could share her thoughts with you! Here’s what she said:
I went back to The Shining before reading the sequel and I'm not sure if that influenced my enjoyment of it.                                      
Reading it again reminded me of what I love the most about The Shining, you can’t help but be constantly on edge, scared; the monster is this unknown entity that you don't understand and the mysterious power Danny has is just as scary.                  
We get none of that in this sequel. Danny is now Dan, we get to see what become of him and that was interesting but no enough to warrant an entire new book. Everything else is just superfluous, the True Knot is at best ridiculous, the new characters - mostly Abra and her family - are so incredibly annoying.  It was all just a waste of time for me.

@rorysbooks also has a tumblr you might want to check out:

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Stellan Skarsgård currently shooting The Painted Bird: Based on the book by Jerzy Kosinski #book2movie

Stellan Skarsgård who celebrates his 61st birthday today is starring in The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski. The book came out in 1965, I read it in August of 1977. 
I know that because I read it during a period in my life when I logged every book I read in a music writing notebook [I was likely attracted to the six staves per page structure] not because I remember the novel all that well. Forty years later my recollection is vague enough to be non-existent so we’ll look to the publisher for the book’s description. 

Originally published in 1965, The Painted Bird established Jerzy Kosinski as a major literary figure. Kosinski's story follows a dark-haired, olive-skinned boy, abandoned by his parents during World War II, as he wanders alone from one village to another, sometimes hounded and tortured, only rarely sheltered and cared for.

 Petr Kotlar is the unnamed Boy in The Painted Bird

Through the juxtaposition of adolescence and the most brutal of adult experiences, Kosinski sums up a Bosch-like world of harrowing excess where senseless violence and untempered hatred are the norm. Through sparse prose and vivid imagery, Kosinski's novel is a story of mythic proportion, even more relevant to today's society than it was upon its original publication.

Apparently, the book was originally depicted as auto-biographical, even memoir—there are still people on GoodReads reviewing it as if it were a memoir—and a decade later was de-frocked, if you will, in much the same way as James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces. Not only was it not Kosinski’s true story, not only was it fiction but much of it was also plagiarized from popular Polish books unknown to readers in the rest of the world. WOW! I missed all that controversy but the book does sound like it will make a fascinating film for those of us still absorbed by stories that depict the horrors of World War II. 

Stellan Skarsgård stars along with Julian Sands, Harvey Keitel and a variety of Czech actors. The Czech director Vaclav Marhov is shooting the film in the Czech Republic currently with no release date indicated. With no super big star names attached, I expect to see this at art house theaters. What do you think? Have you read The Painted Bird

Anything else by Kosinski? I read his novel Steps that same month, and while I couldn't tell you a thing about the book, I recall vividly Kosinski’s brilliant Being There which according to my notebook I read in January of 1980. Hmmm. Maybe I should take another look at the classic film starring Peter Sellers.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

First trailer for The Little Stranger starring Domhnall Gleeson #book2movie #basedonabook

We got our first look at The Little Stranger back in December of 2017. Now, a couple of months away from its release date, Focus Features has put out the poster and the trailer. Thanks again to my friend Teresa Cambell for shooting me a tweet sharing them. A fan of Domhnall Gleeson and everything Irish, you can follow Teresa on twitter @IrishGalTeresa. I love how some of you do that, send me book2movie news knowing I’m a bit obsessed with screen adaptations, helping me to stay up to date. Thank you!

The movie which stars Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson, Charlotte Rampling and Will Poulter is based on the excellent book by Sarah Waters. I planned on linking back to my review but I stupidly didn’t write one immediately after reading the book. Now it’s mostly gone, whoosh, straight through my swiss cheese head but I’ll try to write up my thoughts as best I can in another post. I can say it’s a long, delicious book which spends a lot of time building the characters and their relationships and with Dr. Faraday’s thoughts about the house where his mother worked when he was a boy. While the house is haunted in a manner of speaking, there is so much more going on. From what I see in the trailer—and what I’d expect—is much more emphasis on the ghost story.
THE LITTLE STRANGER tells the story of Dr Faraday, the son of a housemaid, who has built a life of quiet respectability as a country doctor. During the long hot summer of 1947, he is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall, where his mother once worked. The Hall has been home to the Ayres family for more than two centuries. But it is now in decline and its inhabitants - mother, son and daughter - are haunted by something more ominous than a dying way of life. When he takes on his new patient, Faraday has no idea how closely, and how terrifyingly, the family's story is about to become entwined with his own.

The Little Stranger directed by Lenny Abrahamson (Room) is set for release on August 31. Let’s watch the trailer.

Have you read the book? I hope you’ll give it a go before you go see the movie.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Where'd You Go, Bernadette starring Cate Blanchette: Casting Update

Somewhere along the line the release date for Where’d You Go, Bernadette, was taken out of its Mother’s Day 2018 slot and shoved all the way to March 22, 2019. The big news! After casting Cate Blanchette as Bernadette months and months ago, Linklater has finally announced the casting of Bernadette’s 15-year-old daughter Bee. The narrator of the novel, Bee’s investigation into her mother’s disappearance is a framing device for the story, so while the screen time may be limited, the role is pivotal. After seeing 500 other girls, the director selected Emma Nelson, a newcomer to movies who has some local Chicago area theater experience.

Newcomer Emma Nelson plays Bernadette's daughter, Bee

“There are so many talented actors in her age range, and we saw hundreds of them for the role of Bee, but several things ultimately swayed me toward Emma. In addition to her intelligence and utter natural quality, I was most impressed with her composure, confidence and unflappability. Even though this was her first movie role, she was unintimidated.”
Cate Blanchette stars as Bernadette in Where'd You Go, Bernadette

According to Nelson’s hometown newspaper, Nelson filmed her scenes last summer. It may be due to her age, that her casting wasn’t announced at the time. 

“It's a great story, and to be able to contribute to it or be a part of it was crazy, and extremely fun,” Nelson said. “I like projects where I'm excited about seeing them come together, ones that I'd look forward to watching myself. I was also excited to work with Rick (Linklater). He's so great, and I knew beforehand that his involvement would set the film apart. Everything about WYGB is unique, and I was drawn to it just from the audition, which in itself was fun for me to do.”

With Cate Blanchett starring as Bernadette, 15-year-old Bee does everything she can to track down her missing mother, and as the logline says “discovering her troubled past in the process.’’ Richard Linklater directs from a script by the wonder duo Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. The cast includes Billy Crudup as her husband, Kristin Wiig as Audrey the gnat neighbor, Judy Greer, Laurence Fishburne and Troian Bellisario as Becky.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Reese Witherspoon says #ReadingIsLIT: You're gonna have to face it, you're addicted to books

Reading is LIT

LIT, a slang word which used to be mean intoxicated has a new meaning lately. Excellent, all lit up with excitement. So maybe it’s not a new meaning after all. We use the word intoxicating in a “drunk with happiness’’ kind of way. Those of us who get their high from books, who are addicted to reading knew that, of course, but now HBO is joining up with the NYC library to promote reading because ... well just think how many HBO series are based on books? Below, Reese Witherspoon, who is a totally LIT fan of literature, speaks on behalf of the #ReadingIsLIT movement.

Y’all know I agree. I shared the photograph above of my library haul yesterday on my Chapter1-Take1 Instagram. Follow me there? Happy Reading. 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Watching The Great American Read: A Separate Peace by John Knowles #basedonabook #book2movie #SaturdayMatinee

We’re continuing to use Saturday Matinee to look at the Top 100 books in the running to be The Great American Read, with our focus on the ones that have been adapted for the screen. Cuz, ya know, that’s what we do here.

A Separate Peace by John Knowles isn’t the easiest oldie to find for streaming on a Saturday afternoon; the only place I can find the film version is on iTunes for $10. There are other adaptations but the one we’re watching is the 1972 movie—which garnered three stars from Roger Ebert—starred seventies heartthrob Parker Stevenson as Gene with John Heyl as Gene. Larry Peerce (Goodbye Columbus) directed. 

About the book

An American classic and great bestseller for over thirty years, A Separate Peace is timeless in its description of adolescence during a period when the entire country was losing its innocence to World War II.   
Set at a boys' boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world.

There is plenty of info on the net about the homosexual subtext of the boy’s friendship, and Knowles who later came out as gay—a reminder as to how long people had to bury their authentic selves—has been said to have written the book with that sexuality suppressed. I can’t even find a proper trailer for the coming-of-age story but I did come up with the opening to the film and the Salisbury Beach scene. Voila!

A Separate Peace, Opening Scene

Parker Stevenson as Gene with John Heyl as Finny

Friday, June 8, 2018

First Trailer for First Man starring Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy #book2movie

I’ll keep this short. Here it is. The first trailer for First Man starring Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong with Claire Foy as his wife, Janet. 

I always love Ryan but Foy looks incredibly strong here. She is clearly not just playing “the little woman.’’ 
First Man is set for release on October 12th in the US and the UK. 

James McAvoy steps into Daniel Craig's Shoes in Adaptation of His Dark Materials: #book2movie

James McAvoy is set to join Lin Manuel Miranda (Lee Scoresby) in the BBC adaptation of Philip Pullman’s fantasy epic His Dark Materials. McAvoy will play Lord Asriel. You may remember the role of the adventurer and absent father was played by Daniel Craig in the adaptation of The Golden Compass in 2007. 

James McAvoy will play Lord Asriel in His Dark Materials

This time around, Pullman’s work is being done as an eight-part series, a good choice for such a dense collection of stories. His Dark Materials is a trilogy including Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass

Dafne Keen (Lyra) was Laura in Logan

At the center of the story is Asriel’s daughter, Lyra, (Dafne Keen) who lives in a parallel universe. Clarke Peters (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Chance, The Wire) plays the master who raises Lyra.

 Clarke Peters will play the Master of Jordan, the master who raises Lyra

Yet to be cast is Will, Lyra’s friend who travels through time and space with her.  

The acclaimed director of Les Miserables, The King’s Speech and The Danish Girl directs from a script by Jack Thorne (National Treasure, Wonder).

About the book

These thrilling adventures tell the story of Lyra and Will—two ordinary children on a perilous journey through shimmering haunted otherworlds. They will meet witches and armored bears, fallen angels and soul-eating specters. And in the end, the fate of both the living—and the dead—will rely on them. 
Phillip Pullman’s spellbinding His Dark Materials trilogy has captivated readers for over twenty years and won acclaim at every turn. It will have you questioning everything you know about your world and wondering what really lies just out of reach.
Just for fun, let’s take a look at The Golden Compass where we first met Lyra onscreen. 

While the story crosses a multiplicity of places, Pullman is an English novelist, McAvoy is an actor who hails from the British Isles. Director Tom Hooper is London born while screenwriter Jack Thorne hails from Bristol. 
Hence, I’m sharing it with fellow followers of British Isles Friday.
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