Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday Snippets: What I missed in book to movie news

I've been so mesmerized this week by Les Miz I've missed a few things...

The most exciting is that Reese Witherspoon has hired Nick Hornby to pen the screen adaptation of Cheryl Strayed's memoir Wild so they're finally making some progress. I read that Witherspoon acquired the film rights last January and at the time, shared Kristin Fritz Word and Film round up article on the dozen best film adaptations, of 2011!. .... still worth checking out, even a year later.

It sounds like a great story based on the real life experience of Strayed; a woman devastated by the death of her mother and the end of her marriage, who decided to hike the over 1100 mile long Pacific Crest Trail in California. Despite zero experience she not only made it but regained her sense of self in the process.

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According to Mike Fleming in Deadline, it was Witherspoon who pitched Hornby because she's a long time fan of his writing. I'm a fan too.  About a Boy is one of my all-time favorites btw; both the book and the movie except that Hornby didn't write the movie, at least not the one starring Hugh Grant.  Bizarrely ( I think) he did write a forgettable tv movie starring Patrick Dempsey which came out the following year! I would love to see how those two productions came into being!

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He did write the screenplay  An Education; the extraordinary film starring Carey Mulligan and Peter Sarsgaard based on Lynn Barber's novel. I think of Hornby as having a distinctly British voice so I'm both excited and a little curious about how he will handle the very American story of adventure and self-discovery. You might say Fever Pitch was a distinctly American story to which I would say yes, but the big splashy American film starring Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore, set in the world of baseball,  is not only a distinctly lousy American movie but most importantly, Hornby didn't write a book about love and the American past time of baseball. He wrote a book about love and the British past time of football (Brit-style).  It would be interesting to see how his Fever Pitch script differed since he did indeed write a tv movie based on his novel.  That one starred Colin Firth and that is one I would like to see.


Hornby is currently immersed in writing the screenplay to Colm  Toibin's Brooklyn - required reading for all incoming NYU students!

Back to the Hornby/Witherspoon pairing ....

Ms. Witherspoon said:
 “Nick’s innate blend of humanity and humor are a perfect match for Cheryl’s raw emotional memoir. I look forward to collaborating with both of these talented writers to create a film full of honesty, adventure and self discovery.”
It sounds like Cheryl Strayed is going to be involved which is important since the story is based on fact. Still it is a film not a book so Ms. Strayed best be prepared to see her adventure whittled down to bare essentials. And probably not getting screenwriter credit either. I agree with Witherspoon though; an inventive writer like Hornby, with his solid understanding of human quirks, should turn in an exciting script. .And from what Hornby said about the book and Witherspoon, it's pretty much a mutual admiration society.
Said Hornby: “I loved Cheryl Strayed’s memoir. It’s moving, funny, painful and brave, and the moment I’d finished it I wanted someone to let me have a go at adapting it, because it was clear to me that it could make a wonderful movie. I’m thrilled to be given the chance; the fact that this chance was given to me by Reese Witherspoon, a great actress who feels exactly the same way about the book as I do, makes this project all the more exciting.”
Sounds cool, eh? I know I've missed a few other things ... I'm getting a sense that Brad Pitt's Killing Them Softly (based on Coogan's Trade) isn't killing them at the box office which is sad if true. I'd read a couple of reviews which were mixed but they made the point Pitt was terrific. He does seem to be one of those actors who get better with age. *

*Yes I'm right! I just googled Killing Them Softly box office and the first article that came up was the Washington Tribune. The headline reads Brad Pitt's crime drama "Killing Them Softly" D.O.A.

Oh Darn! I'm sure there's much more I missed while I was besotted with Les Miz and watched You tube video after video of every Les Miz performance ever captured on film. But right now it's late. Time for a glass of wine while I watch Saturday Night Live with my husband. We keep hoping it will get better but I am missing Kristin Wiig big time!

3 comments:

  1. I read Wild and I'm not sure how any humor is going to come into it. It left a pretty down feeling for me. That's why it seems so strange that Witherspoon is taking it on.

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    1. Hmmm, that's interesting! I can't imagine the appeal if it leaves one feeling down rather than uplifted. I just read that Strayed, a writer, brought books along (Flannery, O'Connor) but didn't pack properly otherwise or learn about the trail ahead of time. It sounds like this is a woman who made a foolish decision and got really, really lucky. Luck that began with Oprah recommending it!

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  2. I'd love to find time to read Wild. Perhaps this will speed me on.

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