Friday, August 24, 2012

Cinematic Adaptations


For Christmas in 1999 my parents gave my brother the first three volumes in the Harry Potter series. He devoured them unlike any book he had ever read before. At 16, I was also hooked, but I had been a voracious reader my whole life. In 2001 the first film adaptation, Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's (Philosopher's) Stone, was released to widespread acclaim. The young cast members were instant celebrities. J.K. Rowling inspired a generation to read. If you walk into any bookstore these days you will find whole sections of Teen Fiction (not just vampire fiction these days). Also in 2001, Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was released. My brother then consumed J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series.

Hollywood seems like a once well-oiled machine that is struggling to win back the affection of its once loyal audience. Remakes and sequels. Are studios still trying to find the perfect novel to adapt? I am sure that there are options being offered and thousands of books a year, but who is writing these screenplays? Is there anything more disappointing than a once-favourite book being manhandled on screen?

in 2001 I discovered Australian writer Luke Davies. I devoured his book Candy: A Novel of Love and Addiction. It tells the story of an unnamed narrator who falls in love with a girl named Candy. The problem is that he is also addicted to heroin. It was turned into a film, Candy, in 2006. It starred Heath Ledger and Abbie Cornish. I can admit that it is a decent film, but it was a woeful adaptation of a book I loved. The film turned the story into a depressing love story about drug addicts, whereas I felt the novel had a colourful beauty to it that was missing in the film.

The aesthetic affect of the novel is also lost in the film's poster:


I just finished reading Patricia Cornwell's latest crime thriller Red Mist, which features her trademark character Dr. Kay Scarpetta, a medical examiner. The series began with Postmortem in 1990 and later this year, The Bone Bed, will be the twentieth novel to feature Scarpetta. For years there has been speculation as to when Kay Scarpetta would appear on the big screen. In 2010 it was suggested that Angelina Jolie - who has appeared in a handful of other series - would take on the lead role. Jolie, with her dark hair and obvious sex appeal, would never be my choice. Thankfully little fuel has been added to the fire in terms of production.

I certainly have very specific taste when it comes to what I read. I tend to stick to fiction, and I have a penchant for British satirical writing. My favourite authors are Scarlett Thomas and Patrick Ness.

I would love to see Thomas' PopCo made into a film. The story centres on Alice, a young woman who works at a toy company. She creates code breaking detective kits. Everyone seems to love working at PopCo, except Alice. An actress, a cross between Lena Dunham and Emma Stone, would be a great choice to play Alice.

An absolute favourite of mine, Ness' The Crash of Hennington, is a satirical post-apocalyptic novel set in a fantastic world where rhinoceros run wild and people do not seem to pay much attention. I would love to see this on screen if only to see it come to life.

What novels would you love to see adapted for the big screen? Are there series that would work better for television, like Game of Thrones? If you love to watch movies as much as we do at CineCritical, there is a strong possibility that you also love to read as much as we do!

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