> Chapter1-Take1: October 2015

Brooklyn "Story" Featurette - Go behind the story with Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen #book2movies

My twitter friend Tess  @poet_teresa  is a huge Domhnall Gleeson fan. Correction, she’s obsessed. If there’s Domhnall Gleeson news, Tess knows it. Thanks to that obsession I’ve got a gorgeous new featurette to share before Brooklyn starring Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson and Emory Cohen opens in theaters next week. [Scroll down to watch]

Sharing is caring

I’m grateful for Tess’s passion and that she shares her Domhnall Gleeson news with me. It makes doing this book to movie blog so much more fun when you guys get in the act. In fact if you’ve got news, pictures and videos on any book to movie adaptations I might have missed, I’m always eager to share and give you the credit. Like telling Tess thanks for forwarding the EW link with all these images shot by Kerry Brown!

And did I tell you I got an invite to a pre-release screening? Yeah, I know I did. I’ll share my thoughts after I see Brooklyn, but I do know that Tess, who has seen it, thought it was wonderful. To be honest, so long as Domhnall’s in it, she’s usually happy, which is fine by me. He’s a talented actor who is fast and furious becoming a pretty big deal. 

True to the book

If you’ve read Colm Toibin’s novel take a look at this featurette; you can tell the filmmakers got it right. The period look and feel, the clothing, the emotion of the film all look spot on. 

What Alice Forgot: Hey American filmmakers! Leave those books alone.

 Sing that headline to the tune of Pink Floyd's The Wall

I just read that TriStar which acquired Liane Moriarty’s book What Alice Forgot (not to be confused with Still Alice) last summer now has Jennifer Aniston attached to play the 39 year old Alice. Remember, she falls and hits her head at the gym only to wake up thinking she’s still twenty-nine, pregnant and still crazy in love with her husband? Oh, what a difference a decade makes!

I am not a Jennifer Aniston hater. Far from it. I rooted for her and carried a grudge on her behalf, hating on Angelina Jolie long after it was healthy on anyone’s part. Having seen her in Cake, I have new found respect for Aniston as an actor and I think she might even be exactly right for the part of Alice. Except of course, she’s not an Aussie. Aye, there’s the rub.
Because I read What Alice Forgot with Alice’s Australian accent in my head, didn’t you? Learning it was going to be a movie, I was all set to go to Sydney, have lunch at one of those busy harbour-side restaurants, and hear children call their mothers mum. While I grudgingly have to admit resetting the film somewhere in the states won’t really have a deleterious effect on the story,—and unlike Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, What Alice Forgot doesn’t emphasize the sunny Australian location quite so much—it will totally bum out my heart that it’s set in the states. I’m a bit of a broken record on this score; I love films that go places, allows us to see more of the world than our day to day vistas. 

Aniston and new hubby Justin Theroux. 
Isn’t it ironic that Theroux has just been cast to play Tom in The Girl on the Train, another book Hollywood insists on making here in the states when it best belongs in the country the author set it in??? 
What do you think, readers? Is Aniston your Alice? Does it matter where the adaptation takes place or, like me, are you disappointed but youll get over it. Its just a matter of time. Lots and lots of time.

Saoirse Ronan in Atonement: The Brooklyn star got her first Oscar nomination for her work in Atonement. Is she ready for #2? #book2movies

I received an email that really made my day yesterday; an invitation to a screening of Brooklyn starring Saoirse Ronan! If youve read me more than a couple of times you know Ive been following this film for ages. I read the book by Colm Toibin several years ago; it captures the immigrant story while giving us an intimate look at a young womans feeling of homesickness. Anyone who has been the new girl or boy in town knows that feeling of being adrift while the rest of the world moves around you, operating with its own set of seemingly unknowable rules. I’m ready for the movie, which sounds lush and romantic in a sweeping, old-fashioned way. Directed by John Crowley, Brooklyn stars Domhnall Gleeson and Emory Cohen in addition to Saoirse. 

Seems like a perfect time to watch the young Ms. Ronan in today’s #ThrowbackThursday movie, the beautiful and tragic Atonement starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy

Based on the best selling Ian McEwan novel and directed by Joe Wright, the film earned 7 Academy Award nominations including a win for Dario Marianelli’s gorgeous score. It also earned the thirteen year old Ronan a Best Supporting Actress nom. 

Word on the buzzy buzz street is that Brooklyn may give Ronan her second Oscar nomination. Ill let you know what I think when I see it next week. 

Curious about Brooklyn? Check out this post about the 1950’s period wardrobe designed by Odile Dicks-Mireaux. And shots of the just as gorgeous Irish locations in the Brooklyn Image Gallery.

The Girl on the Train gets a course correction and a release date: October 7, 2016

A little over a month ago I got the bad news that Chris Evans was in talks to join The Girl on the Train. I’m uncomfortable at being so direct about my dislike but there it is, the idea of the bland Evans as Tom, Tom ‘with the Tom Cruise smile’ just didn’t do it for me. Dont feel bad for him, hes got his Captain America schtick to do. The schedules collided and today I can joyously report hes out.
And Justin Theroux is in. Which brings up a different issue. Is Justin just too sexy, with his dark and mysterious ways, for Tom? Or, Mrs. H  @NASAGeekCL  suggested on twitter, is he too creepy. Evans was spot on. Justin is creepy so the audience wont have to play Who Done It. 
Looking at Theroux in Wanderlust (above), where he is both ridiculous yet sexy, I would never call him creepy but there is a darkness—and I aint just talking bout his hair color—to Theroux. You wouldnt typically cast him as a good guy.  Mrs. H may have a point. Then again with Jared Leto as Megans husband Scott, that little neighborhood along the train tracks is so good-looking and sexy, Therouxs playing Tom wont set off any alarm bells. If that even matters; we all knew—those of us who read the book—who done it in Gone Girl but that didnt keep us away from the theater to see Rosamund Pike inhabit the role of Amy. 
In any case, the train has left the station. The studio has announced a release date—October 7, 2016—so at this point it’s—pardon the proliferation of puns—full steam ahead. 
The other chunk of casting news is that Dr. Kamal Abdic, Megan’s therapist, is being played by Edgar Ramirez, a handsome Venezualan who has over half a dozen films slated for release in the next year, including playing Jennifer Lawrence’s husband in the upcoming Joy. Of course Venezuelan is not Indian—I had  Sendhil Ramamurthy cast as Kamalso we’ll see how the casting of Ramirez plays with the PC police. 

Theroux and Ramirez join Emily Blunt as Rachel, Rebecca Ferguson as Anna, Haley Bennett as Megan, and of course, Jared Leto as Megan’s husband Scott. Tate Taylor (The Help) directs from a script by Erin Cressida Wilson, based on Paula Hawkins’ best seller, disappointingly relocated from London to NYC. How do you think The Girl on the Train is shaping up?

Reese Witherspoon & Cheryl Strayed reteaming for HBO adaptation of ‘Tiny Beautiful Things'

I don’t know Cheryl Strayed at all but having read her memoir Wild, I feel like I do. Plus we follow each other on Twitter so there’s that. I supposed that must be why this news makes me as happy as if we were best friends. Strayed is reteaming with Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern to develop Tiny Beautiful Things as a drama series for HBO. The book is a collection of punch-gutting essays compiled from Cheryl Strayed’s Dear Sugar advice column, initially written under the ‘Sugar’ pseudonym, but using stories from her own life in response to her readers’ dilemmas. 

Strayed and her husband, filmmaker Brian Lindstrom, will write the adaptation, “set to explore love, loss, lust and life through the eyes of a Portland family who live by the mantra that the truth will never kill you.” 

Life can be hard: your lover cheats on you; you lose a family member; you can’t pay the bills—and it can be great: you’ve had the hottest sex of your life; you get that plum job; you muster the courage to write your novel. Sugar—the once-anonymous online columnist at The Rumpus, now revealed as Cheryl Strayed, author of the bestselling memoir Wild—is the person thousands turn to for advice.

Tiny Beautiful Things brings the best of Dear Sugar in one place and includes never-before-published columns and a new introduction by Steve Almond.  Rich with humor, insight, compassion—and absolute honesty—this book is a balm for everything life throws our way.

The book was published in July 2012 but I think it would make a great gift for Christmas 2015. Just sayin’. 

War and Peace: Lily James, Paul Dano and James Norton make quite the menage a trois

Earlier this month I shared some teaser images from the upcoming iteration of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace starring Lily James, Paul Dano and James Norton. And I asked if anyone was reading or rereading War and Peace before it hits our television screens early next year. Astrida (@astridafn) told me she’s not only re-reading the book, she’s seen almost every screen version of the story ever made. She calls herself obsessed. I say it’s a magnificent obsession. Then she went one better and shared these cool intros she made pairing some stunning shots of the actors with brief character blurbs. 

These are wonderful Astrida. I just have one comment — could you please make us a trailer? 

War and Peace is coming to Lifetime as a 6 episode mini-series early in 2016. 


Truth? Thank God it’s #SlackerSunday time.

Truth? I don’t have time for this today. It’s my second ‘shower’ in as many weeks. Last Saturday night was one of those co-ed baby shower events that’s really more party than ‘shower’. It was for one of my favorite nieces, one of those people who glows inside and out and has since she was a baby. Today’s is a wedding shower for my nephew’s bride who I don’t know that well but like my niece, she’s full of life. We’ve been asked to bring two favorite family recipes because ‘every bride needs to have a collection of family faves’. I’m making my husband contribute one because it’s 2015 not 1915 and when it comes to cooking he does as much of it as I do. 

Okay. Here’s my slacker Sunday video, An Anatomy of A Scene via the New York Times featuring Truth, the film based on Mary Mapes memoir about Dan Rather’s fall from grace. I’m still not sure I buy Robert Redford as Dan Rather but I think Redford’s low-key approach to acting might be exactly what the role calls for. 

Truth starring Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett opens next Friday in theaters everywhere.

Brooklyn Movie CLIP - Your Life Could Be Good Here #book2movies

If you’re waiting for the lush and romantic Brooklyn, here’s a swoony short clip that highlight’s Ellis’ dilemma,  the choice between the home town boy played by Domhnall Gleeson, or the young Brooklyn-born Tony of Italian heritage, played by Emory Cohen. Domhnall Gleeson’s character isn’t making that choice easy as he sweeps her off her feet.

Scripted by Nick Hornby, based on the book by Colm Toibin, Brooklyn stars Saoirse Ronan and opens here in the US on November 4th, followed by the UK and Ireland on the 6th. 

Top Ten Scary Movies Based on a Book: Halloween #ThrowbackThursday

I dug way, way back in my archives to October 2011 for this #ThrowbackThursday post: The top ten scary movies based on books.  Can you guess which movie is number one? I didnt create the list so I can tell you its not The Haunting, my personal fave. And its not Silence of the Lambs either. Thats a pictorial red herring. Check out the old post to find out. While youre there, let me know what screen adaptations youd add to the list. 

Carol takes the Best International Literary Adaptation prize at Frankfurt #book2movie

More good news for Carol. The Frankfurt Book Fair, the international publishing industry’s largest trade fair, has just awarded the prize for Best International Literary Adaptation to the upcoming Carol based on the Patricia Highsmith novel The Price of Salt.
I’ve been watching the progress of the movie due out November 20th which, because of its LGBTQ nature, has made a bit of a splash. It’s the story of two women, a shopgirl (Rooney Mara) who dreams of being a photographer and an older married woman (Cate Blanchett) who fall in love, but whose love affair creates multi-layered difficulties. Rooney Mara won Best Actress for her performance at Cannes while director Todd Haynes won Cannes Queer Palm award. The movie was also nominated for the coveted Palm d'Or prize. Phyllis Nagy wrote the adaptation and will most likely be nominated when the Writers Guild and Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences mark their ballots as well.
In elaborately composed shots, Todd Haynes revives the repressive atmosphere of the 1950s. With ‘Carol,’ he tells the love story of two women who defy society’s narrow moral values. As he did in ‘Far From Heaven,’ here Todd Haynes once again creates film on a grand emotional scale, without it feeling kitschy or sentimental.  
     Juergen Boos, Director of the Frankfurt Book Fair

Do we need a “young” Miss Marple? Let’s hear it for the little old ladies out there.

I cant decide if this is brilliant or ghastly. What would Agatha Christie say to hear that CBS is developing a television show with Miss Marple being recast as a young woman. Ms. not Miss Marple, obviously, who inherits her grandmother’s bookstore and goes to work as a P.I. to get to the bottom of things in the California town where ‘things aren’t what they seem’. Clearly she won’t be carrying an umbrella and wearing her trademark hat. Will she even know a good cup of tea from a bad one?! Will she drink some herbal concoction instead? Hmmm. I’m thinking ghastly. Christie’s character threw the trope of the ‘nosy old biddy’ out on its heels; does it really need a reimagining?

But maybe even though it’s set in California —a beachy version of St. Mary Mead?—Ms. Marple would still be a Brit, much like Emily Blunt will still be a Brit in the re-locating of The Girl on the Train from London to New YorkOn the good news side, David Wolstencroft, creator of the long-running British spy series Spooks aka MI-5, is writing and producing. Better news would be if someone like Scott & Baileys Sally Wainwright was scripting.
I’m partial to Joan Hickson who played Miss Marple in the long running British television series that ran from 1984 to 1992 with Julia McKenzie probably being my number two, appearing as the amateur spinster sleuth from  2008-2013. There have been quite a few others, including Margaret Rutherford, Angela Lansbury and the wonderful Helen  Hayes.
Helen Hayes in Murder with Mirrors

Here’s an ad for a restoration of the Miss Marple many fans of the ultimate in cozy British detective stories hold dear. 

Who was your favorite screen version of Agatha Christie’s iconic female detective? Does she really need a make-over?

Will "A Street Cat Named Bob” be the next “Marley & Me?" #book2movie

Im guessing some of my cat-lovin readers—especially you Brits out there—know all about James and his stray cat but the story is new to me. A Street Cat Named Bob is the true story of London street musician and heroin addict James Bowen, who nurses an injured cat back to life and in the process, saves himself. Now his story—shepherded by the same agent who gave the world Marley & Me—is going from international best selling book to movie screen. 

Our Mrs. Bates, Joanne Froggat, has been cast to play Bowen’s social worker, while Anthony Head, who, despite a lengthy career, is probably most famous for Buffy and the Vampire Slayer, has been cast to play Bowen’s father. Bowen himself is played by Luke Treadaway who most recently appeared as the young Freddie in Vicious, starring Derek Jacobi and Ian McKellen as well as Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken and the Brit TV episodic, Fortitude

Luke Treadaway will play James Bowen
Sounds like a feel good tear maker that I’ll happily watch when it hits television screens.

Here’s the rundown on the story:
 The Instant New York Times Bestseller!
James is a street musician struggling to make ends meet.
Bob is a stray cat looking for somewhere warm to sleep. 
When James and Bob meet, they forge a never-to-be-forgotten friendship that has been charming readers from Thailand to Turkey. 
A Street Cat Named Bob is an international sensation, landing on the bestseller list in England for 52 consecutive weeks and selling in 26 countries around the world. Now, James and Bob are ready to share their true story with the U.S. in this tale unlike any you've ever read of a cat who possesses some kind of magic. 
When street musician James Bowen found an injured cat curled up in the hallway of his apartment building, he had no idea how much his life was about to change. James was living hand to mouth on the streets of London, barely making enough money to feed himself, and the last thing he needed was a pet. Yet James couldn't resist helping the strikingly intelligent but very sick animal, whom he named Bob. He slowly nursed Bob back to health and then sent the cat on his way, imagining that he would never see him again. But Bob had other ideas.
Perfect for fans of Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog and Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat That Changed the World, this instant classic about the power of love between man and animal has taken the world by storm and is guaranteed to be a huge hit with American fans as well.

Thoughts? And what are the chances Bob gets to play himself?

Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford talk about Truth: "Telling the truth beneath the story you think you know"

When you stop asking questions, thats when America loses.

Today’s Slacker Sunday video features Robert Redford & Cate Blanchett discussing Truth, the film based on Mary Mapes memoir about Dan Rathers fall from grace at CBS. The network has refused to run ads for the film saying Truth doesn’t capture the truth; I hope some journalist out there is looking at all the ads they do run to see if they subject all their advertising dollars to the same scrutiny. Me thinks not. Dan Rather, forced to resign from CBS remains adamant that the story about George Bush escaping from serving in Viet Nam by joining the National Guard, despite some mistakes, is the truth. Rather and Mapes join Blanchett and Redford on stage in this video via the New York Times. 

The Haunting: Still scary after all these years #book2movies

John Updike. Saul Bellow. Faulkner. These are some of the storied names up for the National Book Award in 1960, the year Shirley Jacksons The Haunting of Hill House was nominated. The year Philip Roth won for Goodbye Columbus. The novel is no ordinary ghost story, many —Stephen King among them—consider it to be one of the finest tales of horror of the 20th century. Not only has it been adapted for the stage; its been made into a movie. Twice.

Maybe youre familiar with the horrible 1999 iteration starring Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson and Lili Taylor dubiously called The Haunting? Forget that noise. Poorly written. Miscast. Obvious and cheesy. It makes me shiver just to think about. Let’s watch the real movie based on Jacksons novel, The Haunting, starring the great Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Russ Tamblyn and Richard Johnson made in 1963. Thats The Haunting as it should be remembered, a film so terrifying that even as the houses walls pulsated and bled in black and white, it elicited several choice colorful words from me as I watched it from the couch, clutching onto a throw pillowmy heart pounding right out of my chest. That was years ago, but if you ask me today the scariest movie Ive ever seen, The Haunting is still the first movie on my list.

The terror of The Haunting is really psychological. What happens when you put one shy, retiring, repressed woman (Nell played by Julie Harris) together with the glamorous confident Theo (Claire Bloom) and a cheerfully dubious skeptic (Luke/Russ Tamblyn) in a house designed to scare the living daylights out of you? A situation where ultimately its your own inner fears that becomes the real horror show.

Directed by Robert Wise, the four time Oscar winner of Westside Story, The Sound of Music, The Sand Pebbles and the very first Star Trek movie in 1979,  The Haunting is available to stream on Amazon, YouTube, Vudu and GooglePlay. Get the popcorn out, toss in a handful of Halloween candy corn, and be prepared to be scared. But, alas, not at this trailer which, chock full of nuts of old timey vintage tricks should make you smile. Happy Halloween.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society adaptation IS BACK!

It was on. Kate Winslet was set to take the lead as Juliet in a Kenneth Branach directed adaptation of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Then it was off, a huge disappointment for those of us swept away by the epistolary saga of the little island given up by the Brits during World War II.
Call it Guernsey. Just Guernsey.
Here’s my take on the book from 2012 where I had the whole thing cast with Colin Firth, Cate Blanchett and Hugh Grant joining Winslet. Hugh Grant? Really? WHAT was I thinking?

Now, not only is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society back on—with a new shorted Guernsey as its title, thank you very much—but it looks like new girl on the block, Rebecca Ferguson is in talks to play the starring role. Ferguson is having a very good year after turning a lot of heads in the last Mission Impossible film opposite Tom Cruise: she’s signed on to play Anna in The Girl on the Train and is also in talks to star opposite Michael Fassbender in the upcoming adaptation of Jo Nesbø’s The Snowman.
This past summer there was some chatter that Michelle Dockery would get the part, another good choice but I think Ferguson will be even more perfect for Juliet Ashton, the writer who goes to visit the tiny island and gets the story firsthand, don’t you think? 

The Shawshank Redemption: Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying. #ThrowbackThursday

Tim Robbins turns 57 tomorrow, October 16th. Looking at his career Id say he knows all about “Get busy living or get busy dying.” Today’s movie for a  #ThrowbackThursday is just a small nod of thanks to the actor who gave the world Andy Dufresne, one of the most iconic movie heroes ever.  I talk a lot about the Academy Awards here; The Shawshank Redemption is an important reminder as to how little they mean given the context of time and lasting power. Not only did The Shawshank Redemption not win any of its 7 nominations, Tim Robbins wasnt even nominated. Ridiculous. 

We all know thats what’s important isnt really all those nominations: Best Picture, Best Writing (Frank Darabont adapted the Stephen King story “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption”) Best Cinematography (the acclaimed Roger Deakins) Best Music, Best Sound, Best Editing and Best Actor for the marvelous Morgan Freeman, it’s the message of hope and friendship and yes, love—with Robbins and Freeman’s chemistry being as vital as any male and female leads—in the face of seemingly impossible odds, being what matters at the end of the day. That knob of sheer happiness wobbling around in that place between your heart and your throat as you watch Morgan Freeman’s Red walking toward Tim Robbin’s Andy, the blue sky of freedom all around. That’s what matters. 

If you havent actually seen the movie, if thats even possible, you need to give yourself  2 hours and 22 minutes of emotionally powerful storytelling, not at all what I thought a prison break movie was going to deliver. The Shawshank Redemption is available to stream on Amazon, YouTube, Vudu and GooglePlay but sadly it’s only available on Netflix as a DVD. 

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