Posts tagged ‘movies’

November 30, 2010

Fiction + Hollywood = A Very Beautiful Love Affair?

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Hollywood films frequently borrow from literary (and sometimes not so literary) writers. This year, everything from Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel Never Let Me Go, graphic novels Tamara Drewe by Posy Simonds and the Scott Pilgrim series by Bryan Lee O’Malley, Elizabeth Gilbert’s heartfelt memoir Eat, Pray Love and the biopic on Allen Ginsberg, “Howl,” appeared on the silver screen.

What’s missing from this list? A little Gothic romanticism perhaps?

Indie filmmaker Cary Fukunaga (“Sin Nombre”) has a new adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre set for release in March 2011 and starring Mia Wasikowska (“Alice in Wonderland,” “The Kids Are All Right”), Dame Judi Dench (does she really need an introduction?), Michael Fassbender (“Inglourious Basterds”), and Sally Hawkins (“Tipping the Velvet,” “An Education”).

Since the last good film adaptation of Gothic fiction was Alfred Hitchcock’s take on Daphne du Maurier’s “Rebecca,” let’s hope that Fukunaga’s “Jane Eyre” doesn’t disappoint. Check out the trailer below.



The other Hollywood-Book news is James Franco – actor, writer (his short story collection Palo Alto was published in October), PhD candidate in English literature at Yale, MFA student, performance artist, soap opera star and visual artist – is confirmed to host the Oscars with Anne Hathaway who, as far as we know, is only an actress. After hosting the Oscars, Franco will bow out of attending any post-award parties to clime Mt. Everest, end world hunger, negotiate a renewed cease fire between Israel and Palestine and rescue a kitten trapped in a tree.

November 5, 2010

Video of the Week: Book Dominoes

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We’re not going to lie – this video from the Arizona-based bookseller Bookmans is pretty awesome.

September 15, 2010

Trailer: Howl

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Beat Generation fans, prepare yourselves! Next Friday is the release of “Howl,” the film biopic about Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, starring James Franco as the infamous poet. The film loosely follows Ginsberg’s life, including the penning of his most famous poem, and the resulting obscenity trial against poet and City Lights Bookstore co-founder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who originally published Howl. Trailer is below.

Franco is currently enrolled in the Warren Wilson College MFA program, where he writes and studies poetry. To prepare for his role in “Howl,” the actor enrolled in additional master’s programs in film and writing at New York University, Columbia University, and Brooklyn College. While walking to class, Franco would listen to a recording of Ginsberg reading Howl on his iPod.

Book-to-film adaptation fans have another thing to look forward to this week with the release of the film adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go

July 28, 2010

Badass Jane Austen

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We always knew there was more to Lady Jane than corsets and manners.

June 26, 2010

Trailer: Never Let Me Go

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Usually the fall is the time for terrific new releases in the world of publishing while Hollywood cools down from hot summer blockbusters and ramps up with tear-jerk films in time for the holidays.

Set to come out in October is a film adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, starring Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan, both Academy Award nominees. Mulligan’s break-out role in a Nick Hornby screenplay was based on a long essay by Lynne Barber called An Education.

Ishiguro’s Booker Prize winning novel The Remains of the Day was made into a critically-acclaimed film in 1993. View the trailer for Never Let Me Go and get ready to cuddle with someone special.

May 18, 2010

Bermuda Triangle: Vampires, Books, and Film

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The undead are everywhere these days. According to Variety , two big book-to-screen adaptations are on the horizon: Jack Kerouac’s American road novel On the Road and Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks , a non-fiction book about a woman whose cancerous cells were collected from her body after her death from cervical cancer and used, without her family’s knowledge or permission, in the study of medical advancements from polio cures to HIV-related treatments.

So what’s the vampiric attachment? Kirsten Dunst recently signed on to star in On the Road , joining Kristen Stewart, among others, on the project. Dunst’s film career took off after her role in the 1994 adaptation of Anne Rice’s novel, Interview with the Vampire , where she played a child-vampire locked in a pre-pubescent body for all eternity. Stewart stars in the Twilight film adaptations. Alan Ball, who is the creator and executive producer of HBO’s “True Blood” series, also about vampires, is attached to produce the telepic based on Skloot’s book for HBO, Variety reports. Oprah, who has yet to reveal her fangs, is also set to produce the project.

May 4, 2010

Natalie Portman is a Zombie!

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Well, maybe not. The New York Daily News reports that the actress will star in and produce an adaptation of the hit smash-up novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith. The novel takes Jane Austen’s classic and adds what Austen would have included had she obtained an MFA: zombies. Director Richard Kelly (of Donnie Darko fame) is currently attached to direct. The film is set for a 2011 release.

Seth Grahame-Smith’s most recent novel is Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and follows Honest Abe as he tries to keep the U.S. together while simultaneously battling vampires. According to the book, rampant vampirism in the south was a minor cause of the Civil War.

April 10, 2010

Eat, Pray, Watch the Movie

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Coming soon, Eat, Pray, Love (the movie) based on the blockbuster memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert.

February 3, 2010

And the Oscar Goes To….

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The nominees for the 2010 Oscar Awards were released yesterday and among the nominees for best picture (expanded to ten nominees this year) are several movies that originated as books (see below). Notably, the first screenplay by author Nick Hornby, An Education, which was itself based on an autobiographical essay by Lynn Barber, received a nomination for best picture, a nod for best actress, and Hornby a nomination for best screenplay.

The list is not exhaustive but, even among the big award categories, it’s easy to see how much Hollywood borrows from the literary world, a trend not unusual to this year, as past Oscar awards have shown.

So what are the major nominees and the books they were based on?

Best Picture:
The Blind Side
based on the novel The Blind Side by Michael Lewis

An Education
based on the autobiographical essay “An Education,” originally published in Granta by Lynn Barber

based on the novel Push by Sapphire

Up in the Air
based on the novel Up in the Air by Walter Kirn

Best Actor or Supporting Actor:

Christopher Plummer, ‘The Last Station’
based on the novel The Last Station by Jay Parini

Colin Firth, ‘A Single Man’
based on the novel A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood

Morgan Freeman, ‘Invictus’
based on the book Playing With the Enemy by John Carlin

Stanley Tucci, ‘The Lovely Bones’
based on the novel The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Best Actress:
Meryl Streep, ‘Julie and Julia’
based on the novel Julie and Julia by Julie Powell

Best Animated Feature Film:
based on the young adult novel Coraline by Neil Gaiman

‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’
based on the children’s novel Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roland Dahl

August 14, 2009

Indie Bookstores Are More Green

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Check out this great video from the Regulator Bookshop in Durham, NC. Think you’re being green by shopping online from stores like Amazon? Think again!

June 28, 2009

Playing Mommy

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“I’m not the only 36-year-old woman who doesn’t have children,” Cameron Diaz says in USA Today. “In all aspects of my life, most of my friends don’t have kids. It’s not uncommon.” Sorry Cameron, you do have kids now, or did you forget that you’re playing a mother in your two new films?


Cameron Diaz, with Sofia Vassilieva, plays a mother for the first time on screen.

Cameron Diaz, with Sofia Vassilieva, plays a mother for the first time on screen.

By now, you’ve definitely heard about Cameron Diaz’s latest film, “My Sister’s Keeper,” which opened this weekend to mediocre reviews. You’ve also probably heard that the 36-year-old Diaz is — wait for it — playing a mom.


Yes, the same Diaz who gelled her hair with Ben Stiller’s spunk in “There’s Something About Mary”, or who played a kick-ass blonde heroine in “Charlie’s Angels” and voiced Princess Fiona in the “Shrek” franchise. The skinny, blonde, party-girl Diaz who has dated the likes of Jared Leto, Matt Dillon, and Justin Timberlake. And now she’s a movie mommy.


Because of course, in Hollywood, being 36 is almost like being dead. One of “Hollywood’s most delectable pop tarts” has aged out of the realm of youthful beauty (despite the fact that she’s still young) and therefore out of

Im not 25 anymore, Diaz told USA Today. Sure, but does that mean shes no longer sexy?

"I'm not 25 anymore," Diaz told USA Today. Sure, but does that mean she's no longer sexy?

the realm of delectability for directors casting sexier, more sensuous roles. Audiences have moved on from Diaz as the pop starlet of her earlier days (much like Farrah Fawcett’s biggest moments were her days tossing her hair suggestively) and onto the new brightest young barely legal things. After you’re no longer hot but still want to be employed as an actress, what’s left? According to USA Today, Diaz wasn’t even looking specifically for maternal roles but, big surprise, she was handed one now that she’s over-the-hill in Hollywoodland. Not incidentally, she’ll play a mother in another film, “The Box,” set for release this October.


In Hollywood, much like the rest of white American culture, mothers aren’t sexy unless they’re divorced or humiliating themselves sexually. Bonus points for the director of a film whose female lead is a woman-of-a-certain age who humiliates herself with a much younger man because her marriage is on the rocks.


Culturally, motherhood robs a woman of her sexuality and throws her into the caregiver role. Woman of childbearing age see their sex appeal wither as the expectations of bearing children become the prime cultural concern. Diaz has stated that interviewers often ask her when she’ll settle down and start raising a family, as if her place as a Hollywood star has served as a mere placeholder for the real work of her life. Women are seen as either sexy or motherly. That’s it. Woe to she who fails to conform to this binary, even though women do it all the time.


For Diaz, the shift from comedic roles to one of motherhood is underscored further by her Hollywood identity as a blonde bombshell, a category whose shelf-life is notoriously short. She’s had moments in dramatic films, such as “Vanilla Sky” and “Being John Malkovich” but, overall, she’s not known for her “serious” roles. Critics applaud her efforts in “My Sister’s Keeper” because she’s “careworn” and “not wearing any make-up.” By the time she’s forty, Diaz will be playing a grandmother on her death bed, comforted by the cutest blonde twenty-year old that is probably a lot like Diaz’s former self.


Check out the movie trailer for “My Sister’s Keeper” below.