June 25, 2006

TWO More Chabon Novels to Be Filmed

To my mind Wonder Boys was both a four-star book and a four-star film - a combination you almost never experience in this world (and if you haven't read it or seen it, I extremely strongly recommend both). So don't get your hopes up too high in terms of how these movies will turn out, but apparently movies are going to be made out of both The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. The former received much more acclaim (including the 2001 Pulitzer Prize), but I'm actually much more excited about the filming of the latter (since I could easily see it as a superb movie, while a good deal of Kavalier & Clay will no doubt have to be chopped out when it's turned into a script). In any event, this source material is vastly superior to what most films are based on, so that's at least a hopeful sign as to the eventual quality of these films.

Posted by armand at June 25, 2006 03:44 PM | TrackBack | Posted to Movies


Very interesting. I loved MoP, especially having lived in Pittsburgh and recognizing all the local color. A good friend of mine in grad school was in the social group who were the models for MoP...it will be interesting to see the casting, and whether or not they keep the period.

Posted by: binky at June 25, 2006 04:05 PM | PERMALINK

It never occurred to me they wouldn't keep the period - I sure hope they do - and it is "in" right now.

Posted by: Armand at June 25, 2006 04:26 PM | PERMALINK

i think K & C is going to be a disaster. it's just too big. i mean, it has all sorts of potential to benefit from some of the innovations we've seen recently in the filming of comic-oriented movies -- american splendor; sin city -- but there's too much going on for it to end up being even halfway coherent. MoP has far more potential; it's compact. still, though, in a nation obsessed with coming of age stories, it's a coming of age story. admittedly, it's one that distinguished itself the only way one can hope to in such a crowded field -- with its distinct voice. whether that voice will make it to film -- as it did in wonderboys -- remains to be seen.

as for preserving the period, this raises a really interesting question pertinent to all recent literary and cinematic treatments of dynamic sexuality. (i recognize the exploring one's sexuality aspect of MoP is a relatively secondary theme, but it's still an important one.) the problem is this: unlike any other social issue in our generation's time, our attitudes, collectively, toward sexual orientation keep evolving toward greater acceptance. while there's nothing intolerant in MoP, it still risks coming off as quaint in front of an audience that isn't entirely conscious of its own changing views. call it the RENT complex; RENT, though it is an important touchstone in musical theatre both topically and formally, looks more quaint with each passing year.

in other news, i was really impressed with Liev Schreiber's Everything Is Illuminated, which far exceeded the reviews i'd read. schreiber made a very difficult artistic choice in removing almost all of the trachinbrod parable, but managed to make the balance tell a similar tale very well. what's espectially interesting, though, in a first-time director, is that he was secure enough to reveal via his deleted scenes a couple of directions he opted not to go. a couple of the scenes are painfully bad; they would have ruined the movie. two others might have been fun, but still, i thought including the bad ones was a brave choice. generally, the movie, just like the book, struck an effective balance of absurdity and tragedy, an impressive feat both from a writing and directing point of view. and there was some really clever and effective cinematic choices as well.

Posted by: Moon at June 26, 2006 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Well I think they'll have to deal with the sexuality aspect (or they better - it'll fundamentally alter the text if they don't). But I don't think it will necessarily seem dated because I think that's an area in which, while there's been a lot of movement, for a lot of people there hasn't been. And there are still young adults and social cliques all across the country where things are still pretty much as they were then - or at least that's how plenty of 19-21 year olds perceive it to be.

Rent's being dated was the least of its problems (can you say - about as daring and rebelious and intelligent as a Che t-shirt? and so explicitly crying out for love that it was basically a pathetic harpy personified?). Though being built around and set within the AIDS epidemic of the 80's was certainly a problem with its success (or lack thereof). As you say, MoP is basically a coming of age story, and that's a theme that can easily move across time periods.

Posted by: Armand at June 26, 2006 11:11 AM | PERMALINK
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