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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Gatz, Dragon Tats, and the Please-Don’t-Make-It-a-Movie Debate

In response to Variety’s recent report that Mandalay Pictures has snatched up the film rights for author Sophie Jordan’s new young adult trilogy, Firelight, even though she’s only just released the series’ first book, Entertainment Weekly started a debate on which YA read should hit the big screen next.

But what about books that shouldn’t be made into movies? 

There are plenty of folks up in arms right now about Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming attempt at F. Scott Fitzgerald’s modernist classic The Great Gatsby—and it isn’t just because some worry that Carey Mulligan won’t be able to fill the shoes of femme fatale Daisy Buchanan. In an article with The Atlantic, Hampton Stevens explains that most are worrying that “Luhrmann's film will inevitably fail to capture the majesty of Fitzgerald's work, just as have the half-dozen screen adaptations before it.”  As many articles profess, Fitzgerald’s work isn’t incredible because of its plotline, but because of its introspection and immense level of emotion—two things that are rather difficult to replicate on film. Do you want to see Luhrmann’s Gatsby? What’s your take on another adaptation of this novel?

Another film ruffling feathers: David Fincher’s U.S. adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy. Besides being an international bestselling series, the books are also already movies. The Swedish version of the film, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, performed decently in the U.S., hitting theaters through distribution by Music Box Films and grossing a respectable $10.1 million. The series’ third film isn’t even available on DVD yet and The Social Network director is already filming the first installment of the U.S. remake. 

Niels Arden Oplev, director of the Swedish Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, has expressed anger over the remake. In a Word & Film Website interview, Oplev discusses his outrage: “Even in Hollywood there seems to be a kind of anger about the remake; like, ‘Why would they remake something when they can just go see the original?’” Of course, what can he expect? As Andrew Pullver of the Guardian explains “recycling already-proven material has always been the film industry's way: whether reconfiguring already-successful books, plays and—latterly—video games, or simply freshening up its own product.”

In addition to those taking issue with Hollywood’s eagerness to overshadow the original film series, like the Daisy Buchanan situation, many wonder how Rooney Mara (Nightmare on Elm Street; The Social Network) will compare to Swedish actress Noomi Rapace at playing feminist heroine Lisbeth Salander. As John Kass of the Chicago Tribune explains: “Like many fans, I live in dread of what Hollywood will do to [main character] Lisbeth… We don't want Lisbeth Salander played by some Hollywood cutie with perfect teeth and skin like peaches… The perfect Salander is already on film.” What’s your take on Hollywood’s remake of the Millennium Trilogy?

So Gatsby and a U.S. Dragon Tattoo are already realities. Are there any other books-to-films that you think are bad ideas? What books do you feel should definitely not be made into films? Share your thoughts below as comments.

1 comment:

  1. Hollywood's rehash factory has become nauseating. When it comes to books, Red Riding Hood should not be done. The Green Hornet has little to no relation to its source material. Jane Eyre is just unnecessary. Personally, I'd like to return to the days when good books sparked an "inspired by..." caption. I would love to see a movie inspired by Mark Z. Danielewski's "House of Leaves." Anyway, hopefully screenwriters with original content will get more screen-time. That's my two-cents!


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