Saturday, December 20, 2008

10 literary adaptations I'd like to see

Not content with turning Benjamin Button into a chick flick with Brad Pitt, Hollywood is now apparently setting its sights on The Great Gatsby (again!), with a new version in the works that will be directed by, of all people, Baz Luhrmann - that master of nuanced emotion and hidden yearning. Tchah!

I suppose it's too much to ask that the movie biz leave books alone entirely (or at least leave good books alone; there are plenty of books that could only improve with cinematic adaptation - all of Coelho, for instance, or Adiga's White Tiger), but if we have to be subjected to movie versions of literary classics, can we at least have them made by the right people. I could probably live with an Ang Lee version of Gatsby, but the very idea of Luhrmann getting his hammy hands on it makes me shudder. What will they come up with next? A Tarantino version of The Golden Bowl? ("This may be a Hattori Hanzo sword, my dear, but to accept it would be to blunt the sharpness of our affection.""Or make our silence more precise.""Is that what you want?""It's what I can afford.").

So just to help Hollywood out, here, in no particular order, is my list of top 10 book to screen adaptations I'd like to see:

1. A Jim Jarmusch version of Waiting for Godot, with Bill Murray and Steve Buscemi as Vladimir and Estragon.

2. A Coen Brothers production of, oh, pretty much anything by Faulkner (say Sartoris) starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Tommy Lee Jones

3. A Wong Kar Wai version of Norwegian Wood, ideally cast with newcomers, I guess, though I wouldn't mind seeing Faye Wong as Midori.

4. A Julie Taymor adaptation of Howl.

5. A Mike Nichols version of Herzog with Jack Nicholson in the lead role

6. A Werner Herzog version of the Hunger Artist with Christian Bale in the lead role.

7. A David Lynch adaptation of The Magician's Nephew (the cast doesn't really matter, so long as there's a cameo appearance by David Bowie)

8. A Gus Van Sant version of Catcher in the Rye

9. Almodovar directing pretty much anything by Jane Austen, with Javier Bardem as Darcy / Knightley / Wentworth.

10. A Woody Allen adaptation of Ulysses set on the Upper East Side, with anyone but Scarlett Johansson playing Molly Bloom (I'd pick Frances McDormand, but that's just me)

P.S. List of my 10 favorite movies of the year coming soon.


km said...

That "Waiting for Godot" does sound promising. Actually, anything to see Bill Murray play a tragicomic role. He would totally rock the "they do not move" situation. (And some motormouth actor as Lucky? Jim Carrey?)

//I am reading "Herzog" again after many, many years. But Nicholson playing Moses Herzog? Really?

Szerelem said...

Most excited about 2 and 9 - I really wish those would get made. And well Baz Luhrmann and Gatsby even in the same sentence makes me want to bang my head against a wall or something.

Space Bar said...

ok, dammit. i succumb.

fateh akin for my name is red.

cronenberg doing oh, i don't know - any philip k dick - how about the three stigmata?

and godard should have a philosophical argument on film with zizek,

while tim roth gets off his butt and adapts ian rankin's rebus. fleshmarket close for choice.

and the one i'd really like to see is kitano adapting hard boiled wonderland.

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

I thought of Donald Sutherland in and as "The Cat in the Hat". Does that count?


J. Alfred Prufrock said...

And Michael Palin could conduct.
I mean direct.


km said...

space bar: Philip K. Dick? Haven't they done enough damage to him?

JAP: That would be Klute In the Hat. And if Palin conducts/directs, I am watching.

Annamari said...

I am quite interested in numbers 9,8 and 2… and Woody Allen –Ulysses, this might actually work. I have my doubts about number one, and if it happens I will read Falstaff’s review first. (In my opinion Godot is so not cinematic and to add Hollywood in the picture,hmm)

ReadnRyte said...

With regards to the movie 'Benjamin Button'...I guess you can cut it some slack as it is not a direct adaptation on Fitzgerald's book. Fincher uses the book as a stepping stone and moves in a direction that is his own. I am assuming you have seen the movie....

1minutefilmreview said...

Wow! Nice write-up and suggestion!

Nishit said...

Gus Van Sant? hmmm.. But who could do Holden? Someone new and young? But, me thinks catcher is too narrative to adapt to film