My time pitching in here is coming to an end. Thanks again to Nat for giving me the opportunity, and everyone else for reading. It's been fun. Keep an eye out for me at Oscarwatch. Once I get through a particularly busy work/travel period, I hope to chime in there more frequently.
Since I celebrated my birthday yesterday, I present three film-related birthday wishes for my final post:
1. That Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (Susanna Clarke) can be successfully translated to the screen: This “historical fantasy” about two “real” magicians in early 19th Century Britain is an incredibly dense, brilliant, and witty novel. It's long (nearly 800 pages) and the opening chapters didn't immediately pull me in--I had to put it down on the first attempt, before returning months later. Once I got into it, I tore through the rest in about a week.
The adaptation is in the works. While in the early stages, it sounds promising. It's being made by New Line Cinema--which seems to have cornered the market on major fantasy fiction, between the Tolkien-works and Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials. Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liaisons and the upcoming Atonement) is writing the adaptation. So far the only casting rumor I’ve heard is Paul Bettany as the younger and more dynamic of the two leads, Jonathan Strange. However, that's based on fan speculation over this photo of him carrying the book! If it turns out he is involved, not sure how I feel about it. As much as I admire his work, I actually picture somebody darker for the part. I think an actor like Clive Owen could be a better fit. However, I may be biased. Lately he just comes to my mind randomly—regardless of whether or not he’s right for a role.
Outside of casting, the biggest concern I have is that it will be a difficult book to transfer to the screen. It's inherently cinematic, but it's also so rich--I fear much will be sacrificed for the translation. Still, a lot of the paring down can come from the lengthy footnotes, which offer interesting and often humorous background information, but aren't essential to the plot. The other issue is whether or not there will be magician fatigue after The Prestige and The Illusionist.
2. That Peter Jackson is ultimately chosen to direct The Hobbit: Yes, I know this is a pretty obvious one for me--and also not very likely at this point, given the publicized rift between New Line head Bob Shaye and Jackson. Earlier this week EW.com stirred up the Sam Raimi talk again, with this interview in which he says he's "seriously interested" in the project. Maybe in the end it will be better if someone else directs it, because the expectations will be so incredibly high—at least among those of us who loved The Lord of the Rings. In many ways the trilogy is unique, like lightning in a bottle. Even if you throw the same ingredients in again, who knows how it will turn out. At this point I don’t see us finding out.
3. Clive Owen: Told you he was on my mind. A lot. He's in enough films these days to satisfy me, but I want a personal copy. What? I can’t have him? Alright. I'll settle for Eric Bana. I can be reasonable.
If you had three film-related wishes, what would they be?