Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Books Turned Movies: Fall Season has Many works Headed for the Silver Screen

Nothing makes me more nervous than finding out that a book I love is about to be turned into a major cinematic endeavor. Sometimes, I suppose, it works out but the majority of these situations don't turn out all that well. That being said, I am trying to be most optimistic about books turned movies, and for good reason. While looking at a listing of movies debuting this fall I noticed that there are a great deal of good books about to hit the silver screen.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Book written by Ron Hansen

Movie Starring: Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, and Sam Rockwell

This drama written by Ron Hansen stars the insanely overexposed Brad Pitt has Jesse James. The movie has been riddled with cuts, repeat screen tests, and test screenings. It was supposed to be released last fall but has yet to have been locked just one month before the release date.


Book written by Alessandro Barrico

Starring: Keira Knightley, Alfred Molina, Michael Pitt, Koji Yakusho

The director and producers of Silk, a love story set in the 19th century, were in disbelief when Keira Knightley agreed to sign on for the movie. They learned, however, that Knightley was a big fan of the novel. Silk is the story of an officer who is sent to gather silkworms in Japan and begins an intense affair with a concubine.

Into the Wild

Book written by Jon Krakauer

Starring: Emilie Hirsch, Catherine Keener, Hal Holbrook, Vince Vaughn, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Jena Malone

Into the Wild takes place in 1990 and follows Christopher McCandless, who abandons his DC, changes his name, and disappears into the Alaskan wilderness. After Sean Penn read Krakauer's best-selling biography he set immediately set out to buy the rights. Penn talks about the process of adapting the book for the screen and his goal to make sure that Christopher, the center of the book, not seem snotty or wreckless but as an individual engaged in a great spiritual journey.

The Jane Austen Book Club

Book written by Karen Joy Fowler

Starring: Maria Bello, Emily Blunt, Kathy Baker, Amy Brenneman, Maggie Grace, Hugh Dancy

The idea of this novel, and the movie, is that the members of a small book club start reading a Jane Austen novel and sudden see that their lives are mimicking the characters in Austen's books -- falling in love and then out again, starting new relationships. This romantic dramedy, based on Karen Joy Fowler's book, is the director, Robin Swicord's directorial debut.

Feast of Love

Book written by Charles Baxter

Starring: Morgan Freeman, Greg Kinnear, Radha Mitchell

The film version of this 2000 novel by Charles Baxter centers on Hary, a film professor who watches as the people around him experience an array of different situations that are sometimes funny, others devastating, and even still moving with meaning and love. The director, Robert Berton believes that making Harry, Morgan Freeman's character, the center of the movie was "a brilliant choice to make."

Reservation Road

Book written by John Burhnam Schwartz

Starring: Joaquin Pheonix, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Connelly, Mira Sorvino

Reservation Road is a dramatic novel published in 1998 and takes place in a seaside Connecticut town where a young couple is going through a messy divorce and another couple who have lost their son in a hit-and-run accident. Some very intense scenes occur when the two couples cross paths.

Love in the Time of Cholera

Book written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Starring: Javier Bardem

Director Mike Newell is no stranger to directing movie adaptations of books, having taken the helm for 2005's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. So when Newell heard that Novel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marques had sold the film right to his 1985 novel, he lobbied for a chance to direct. "I loved that book," Newell said. Turning a classic piece of Latin American literature into an English-language movie was difficult and the director admitts it was "very high risk. In a funny way, I felt from the beginning that I was bound to fail."

The Kite Runner

Book Written by Khaled Hosseini

Starring: Shaun Toub, Khalid Abdalla

The Kite Runner has been on the best-seller list for 124 weeks and counting. Needless to say, the movie has big shoes to fill. Director Mark Foster has said "I have tried to stay as authentic as possible to the culture of the people and capture the spirit of the story. He does understand the dangers associated with making a hugely successful and loved book into a movie. "If you disappoint the audience that has embraced the books," he says "you won't get anybody else.

The Golden Compass

Written by Philip Pullman

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Dakota Blue Richards, Sam Elliot, Eva Green

The Golden Compass is the first book in a trilogy entitled Hist Dark Materials and is perhaps more controversial and darker that Harry Potter ever dreamed of. There has been concern that translating the fantastical and metaphysical scenes into film would be too difficult for even the most talented of cinema's graphic artists.


Written by Ian McEwan

Starring: Keria Knightley, James MacAvoy, Vanessa Redgrave

"It is the best script I have ever read," James MacAvoy has said, "It is a little hard to fulfill all that promise." As readers know, the book spans six decades and so to will the movie, leading to some worries about the amount of ground that must be covered to make the film a success. The director, Joe Wright, has pledged to stay as true to the novel as possible, within the confines of reasonable running time.


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