Archive | Book To Film

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Cameron Looks To THE INFORMATIONIST After AVATAR Sequels

Posted on 23 October 2012 by Rich Drees

Although we know that James Cameron’s immediate future is occupied with work on the two planned sequels to Avatar, the director has just bought a literary property that may be his first project after he completes those films.

The book is The Informationist, a mystery novel by Taylor Stevens. You can read the plot synopsis in the press release below, but I have to admit that it doesn’t sound too much like a project that Cameron would normally be interested in. But then again, maybe a story that doesn’t appear to rely on a large amount of visual effect technology to realize may be just the break he could be looking for.

Here’s the press release –

Lightstorm Entertainment has acquired motion picture rights to the acclaimed 2011 novel The Informationist by Taylor Stevens, as vehicle for James Cameron to direct for 20th Century Fox Film. The Informationist will be a project for Cameron after he completes work on the second and third “Avatar” films, which are currently in pre-production.

Published in October 2011, Stevens’ tale centers on Vanessa “Michael” Munroe, an information specialist, whose work is in-demand by corporations, heads of state, private clients, and anyone else who can pay for her unique brand of expertise. When a Texas oil billionaire hires her to find his daughter who vanished in Africa four years ago. Munroe finds herself back in the lands of her childhood. Betrayed, cut off from civilization, and left for dead, she must come face-to-face with the past that she’s tried for so long to forget.

Cameron will produce with Lightstorm partner, Jon Landau. The producers expect to hire a writer to adapt the novel shortly.
Jim Cameron stated: “Taylor Stevens’ Vanessa Michael Munroe is an intriguing and compelling heroine with an agile mind and a thirst for adventure. Equally fascinating for me is her emotional life and her unexpected love story. I’m looking forwarding to bringing Vanessa and her world to the big screen.”

Added Landau: “This was an opportunity to continue our relationship with Fox and Jim Gianopulos beyond the ‘Avatar’ films. We were drawn to this book because of the terrific, compelling narrative and the character, who typifies the strong female protagonists that have inhabited Jim’s work – in this case Vanessa Munroe is essentially a mix of Lisbeth Salander and Jason Bourne.”

A second “Vanessa Michael Munroe” novel, The Innocent, was published earlier this year.

Author Taylor Stevens has a background every bit as intriguing as her heroine’s. Born in New York State, and into the Children of God, an apocalyptic religious cult spun from the Jesus Movement of the ’60s, Stevens was raised in communes across the globe. Separated from her family at age twelve and denied an education beyond sixth grade, she lived on three continents and in a dozen countries before reaching fourteen. In place of schooling, the majority of her adolescence was spent begging on city streets at the behest of cult leaders, or as a worker bee child, caring for the many younger commune children, washing laundry and cooking meals for hundreds at a time. In her twenties, Stevens broke free in order to follow hope and a vague idea of what possibilities lay beyond. She now lives in Texas, and juggles full-time writing with full-time motherhood.

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FIFTY SHADES OF GREY Film Finds Unusual Screenwriter

Posted on 08 October 2012 by Rich Drees

Universal and Focus Features have found a screenwriter to adapt popular, faux-respectable porn novel Fifty Shades Of Grey for the big screen in the form of Kelly Marcel.

What’s interesting is that neither of the two things that are on Marcel’s resume really point to her as a person best suited for this material. She landed on last year’s Black List with Saving Mr. Banks, a dramatization of how studio head Walt Disney managed to convince reluctant author P. L. Travers to allow him to adapt her popular Mary Poppins books into film. The second is a co-creator credit on last season’s dinosaurs and time travelers adventure series Terra Nova.

Now I have not read Fifty Shades Of Grey in full, though I have skimmed a few chapters at the bookstore, but I have seen a number of Terra Firma episodes and have read the screenplay for Saving Mr. Banks. I don’t recall seeing anything that would suggest it was material similar to either thing she has worked on before.

So why Marcel? Well, according to producer Michael De Luca in a press release, “Kelly’s work demonstrates her flawless structural technique and passionate commitment to emotion, humor and depth of character which is particularly visible in the celebrated screenplay for the upcoming Saving Mr. Banks.”

I’ll take his word for it.

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Marilyn Monroe Murder Conspiracy Thriller “The Empty Glass” Optioned

Posted on 01 October 2012 by Rich Drees

J I Baker’s novel The Empty Glass has been optioned by producers Irwin Winkler and David Winkler. Baker will adapt the screenplay from his own book that weaves fact with conspiracy theory and centers on a young Los Angeles coroner who discovers that Marilyn Monroe’s death was not the “probable suicide” the coroner’s office claimed it to be.

Deadline quotes David Winkler as saying –

The Empty Glass reads like a Billy Wilder screenplay. It’s got suspense, action and dramatic plot turns that will appeal to great directors, and rich dialogue that will attract great actors. We knew immediately that nobody could adapt the book better than the author himself, Jim Baker.

In reality, Monroe’s death came during the shooting of the film Something’s Got To Give, a remake of 1940‘s My Favorite Wife, with co-stars Dean Martin and Cyd Charisse. Monroe’s erratic behavior quickly cost in the production a million dollars in overages in just the first few weeks of shooting. The studio tried to fire Monroe and replace her with Lee Remick, but when Martin objected, the studio relented. After Monroe’s death the film was shut down, though the studio reworked the script into Move Over Darling with James Garner and Doris Day. A majority of the film that was already completed was edited together as part of the 2001 documentary Marilyn Monroe: The Final Days.

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Paramount Taps McQuarrie To Rewrite And Possibly Direct Clancy Adaption WITHOUT REMORSE

Posted on 08 August 2012 by Rich Drees

As Paramount’s reboot of their Jack Ryan franchise inches towards production, the studio is already looking towards a spinoff featuring another character created by thriller novelist Tom Clancy. And they are near to finalizing a deal to bring Usual Suspects screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie onto the project to rewrite the current script they have and possibly direct the end product.

The character is John Clark, who appears in a number of Clancy’s novels as an older mentor-figure to hero Jack Ryan. But Clancy also dug into Clark’s backstory in the book Without Remorse which is what Paramount has been struggling to bring to the screen since they optioned the book.

McQuarrie will be working from a script turned into the studio by Shawn Ryan, though it is not known if he will just be fixing a few things or throwing out Ryan’s draft and starting over. McQuarrie has just recently wrapped up directing the adaption of the Lee Child novel Jack Reacher with Tom Cruise for Paramount.

The character has appeared previously appeared in the Jack Ryan films Clear And Present Danger and The Sum Of All Fears, played by Willem Dafoe and Liev Schreiber respectively.

Given that an older Clark appears in a number of the Clancy novels that “star” Jack Ryan, I wouldn’t be surprised if Paramount was thinking of eventually having the two appear together in the espionage movie version of what Marvel Studios has done with the Avengers. If they are thinking of doing that, they may have to change Without Remorse’s 1969 setting depending on when the upcoming Jack Ryan is set in order to keep intact the age difference between the two characters. It should be interesting to watch this one proceed through development.

Via Deadline.

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First Timer Paloma Kwiatkowski Wins PERCY JACKSON Sequel Role

Posted on 03 April 2012 by Rich Drees

It wasn’t the Mega Millions, but budding actress Paloma Kwiatkowski must have felt like she won a lottery after she was offered the role of Thalia in Fox 2000’s upcoming Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Sea Of Monsters. Her tryout for the role was the very first audition the Vancouver high school student ever went on.

The Sea Of Monsters is a follow up to 2010’s Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightening Thief, based on the first of a series of young adult fantasy adventure novels by Rick Riordan.

Deadline is reporting that in addition to this film, Kwiatkowski is under option for two additional sequels.

Thalia is a new character to the teen-lit adaption franchise and although she has a smaller role in this installment, she will figure prominently in the future storylines. Filming on the Thor Freudenthal-directed sequel is set to start later this month for a March 27, 2013 release date.

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Sony Moving Forward On GIRL WITH DRAGON TATTOO Sequels

Posted on 09 January 2012 by Rich Drees

While the box office for Sony’s English-language adaption of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo might not have been as big as expected given the popularity of the Stieg Larsson’s source novel and the critical praise that the original Swedish adaption has received, but the studio has decided to continue forward with adapting the two other books in Larsson’s Millennium series.

As it stands now, the David Fincher-directed adaption is projected to barely break the $100 million mark for ticket sales. (It’s current box office take is currently just shy of $77 million according to Box Office Mojo). Compared to the film’s production costs and the intensive marketing campaign the studio bankrolled, that’s not enough for Sony to break even. However, the film is just starting to roll out into foreign markets and the studio brass is bullish that the film will clear more in the neighborhood of $300 million by the time that is completed.

Banking on that outcome, Sony has already put to work Dragon Tattoo screenwriter Steve Zaillian on adapting the second book in Larsson’s trilogy, The Girl Who Played With Fire with an eye towards getting the film before cameras by late 2012 or early 2013.

Of course, there are a number of unknowns concerning the project and the presumably eventual adaption of the third book, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest. There have been rumors that the two films would shoot back-to-back, though the studio has apparently not made that decision. More interesting, is the fact that it looks like Dragon Tattoo director David Fincher’s participation in the second or even third film has not yet been determined. Presumably when he signed on for the first film there was an option in his contract for all three, but it remains to be seen whether Sony will exercise that option or not.

As to the script for Fire, Deadline is reporting that Zaillian is making some changes to the original book’s plot line, reportedly to bring titular hero Lisbeth Salander into more focus in the film than she is in the Larsson’s original novel, which keeps her separated from hero Mikael Blomkvist for much of its plot. I would assume that Zaillian is looking at ways to have the two working more together through his screenplay.

Can the studio do better with a sequel? Although rare, it is not unheard of. Deadline’s report hints that the studio realizes that it might have made a mistake releasing a dark, R-rated film during the year-end, holiday season, quoting an anonymous studio as exec as saying “It was too cocky of us. We might think about that next time.” I have a feeling that the English-version of Dragon Tattoo will really find its audience once it hits home video later this year thanks to some award season wins and that income from DVD and blu-ray sales will help seal the deal for Sony to give the go-ahead on getting the sequels in front of the cameras as quickly as they can.

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Paramount Looking To Stretch WORLD WAR Z Into A Trilogy

Posted on 05 January 2012 by Rich Drees

Let’s face it, the studios all hope that any new film they release will be successful enough to spawn a franchise. It should come as no surprise then that Paramount has plans to expand their upcoming adaption of Max Brooks’ zombie novel World War Z into a trilogy if the film turns out to be a hit.

The news comes from a LA Times interview with World War Z star and producer Brad Pitt, with the paper describing the film’s tone as having “the grounded, gun-metal realism of, say, [Matt] Damon’s Jason Bourne [film] series tethered to the unsettling end-times vibe of AMC’s The Walking Dead.”

In the film, direct by Quantum Of Solace‘s Marc Forster, Pitt is playing Gerry Lane, a UN fact finder racing to the cause of a zombie outbreak that threatens the globe.

Given the nature of Brooks’ book, there is certainly a lot of material to plumb for potential sequels. For the uninitiated, the book is presented as a collection of records, interviews and documents gathered after the zombie outbreak had been contained that attempts to explain how the situation spread out of control. The original screenplay for the project by J. Michael Straczynski kept this conceit and had its main character traveling the country collecting the stories and documents that are found in the book. Reportedly, script rewrites from Matthew Michael Carnahan have given the film a more straightforward narrative structure, which I have to confess I find the prospect of a bit disappointing. If enough people by tickets next December following the film’s release we’ll get to see how they intend to take the book and flesh out a further story.

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Lionsgate Remaking AMERICAN PSYCHO

Posted on 08 December 2011 by Rich Drees

Lionsgate is moving forward on a new adaption of Bret Easton Ellis’ dark social satire American Psycho. The studio has hired Noble Jones to write a screenplay for a new big screen version of the novel. Given that Nobel’s credits include some music video and commercial directing, as well as being the second unit director on The Social Network, it is a good bet that this may also be his feature film directorial debut.

The book was famously adapted in 2000 by writer/director Mary Harron and which starred Christian Bale as the deranged yuppie serial killer Patrick Bates. Its premier at the Sundance Film Festival caused a stir and split audiences into ardent “love it” and “hate it” factions.

Variety broke the story, indicating that Jones had already turned in his first draft of the script. Deadline adds that the screenplay is “a down and dirty new version that imagines how yuppie serial killer Patrick Bateman would fare in New York today.”

Normally, I would say that there hasn’t been enough time passed before we should be contemplating a new adaption of American Psycho. Especially given the classic stature of the original film, which Ellis himself has given a seal of approval to. But given the changes that New York City and society in general has gone through in the 12 years since 2000, I think that there’s plenty for the screenplay to explore. Keeping the character of Patrick as some sort of Wall Street investment banker will certainly resonate more than it even did 11 years ago. While I have doubts that it can or will live up to the shocking power that Harron’s film had, there is certainly potential for it to carve out it’s own reputation.

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Syfy Films Choose WILD CARDS Adaption For First Project

Posted on 30 October 2011 by Rich Drees

George R. R. Martin’s mutiple-writer anthology series Wild Cards has been picked by Syfy Films to be the first film from the joint venture between the SyFy Channel and Universal Pictures. An adaption of Martin’s other book series, A Game Of Thrones, has proven to be a big hit for HBO.

Wild Cards is a science-fiction twist on standard superhero tropes. Following the end of World War Two, an alien virus is released over New York City, killing 90% of those infected, and leaving 9% with some form of physical mutation. But there was a lucky 1% who survived the virus with some sort of beneficial superpower. Growing out of a long-running role-playing that Martin ran with many of the anthology’s contributors as players, the book series charted how the history of the 20th century was changed economically, politically and socially. the series debuted in 1987 and has more than 20 volumes between four different publishers.

Melinda Snodgrass, who has contributed to the book series has been tapped to write the series. SyFy Films was established last December as a boutique studio to produce films in the $5 to $25 million range.

Ever since A Game Of Thrones was a hit for HBO, I have been waiting for someone to option this series for either television or film. And this is certainly a much better project than many of the made-for-tv productions that SyFy has been associated in the past. I’m a little concerned that the planned budgetary range Syfy announced when it formed might be a little on the low side for a Wild Cards film. But then again, many of the stories aren’t big epic superhero stories, but more “street level” tales. But with Snodgrass on the writing detail, I don’t think we need fear that the film will stray from its roots.

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Affleck Tapped To Bring THE STAND To The Big Screen.

Posted on 21 October 2011 by William Gatevackes

There are some that might say that doing a big screen version of Stephen King’s The Stand is a bit superfluous. After all, there was quite good six-hour ABC miniseries that did the tome justice back in 1994, one which could be bought at Amazon for $24.99 (and contains a copy of The Langoliers and The Golden Years as well).

However, Hollywood being what it is and the miniseries being almost 20 years old, Warner Brothers is dead set on bringing the novel to the big screen. At least they have gone in a good direction for…well…a director.

Deadline is reporting that Warner Brothers has tapped Ben Affleck to helm the big screen version of King’s seminal work. Harry Potter‘s David Yates was recently said to be in negotiations for the director’s chair.

While Affleck might have been the bomb in Phantoms, yo, he has made his name in recent years as a director, receiving good notices for Gone Baby Gone and The Town. Those good notices were well deserved, but he is entering new territory. The Stand is a sweeping epic that had trouble fitting into a six-hour TV miniseries. You can’t imagine Affleck having any more than half that amount of time to tell the same amount of plot. Good luck to you sir.


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