Tag Archives: adaptation

Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington Adapting Bestseller for Limited Series

reeseCould this be the next Big Little Lies?

According to Variety, Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington are teaming up to adapt Celeste Ng’s 2017 bestseller Little Fires Everywhere for the small screen.

Both Witherspoon and Washington will executive produce and star in the series, which tells the story of a suburban single mother and the custody battle over a Chinese-American baby. No word yet when or where it will air, but the news is hot; apparently the project is sparking a bidding war between players in premium cable and streaming.

Reese Witherspoon, man. She just slays.

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‘Big Little Lies’ Author Adapting More Books to Film

what-other-liane-moriarty-books-being-made-moviesIf you loved the HBO adaptation of Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, you’re in luck; more are coming.

Moriarty has had a string of bestsellers over the years, and according to Entertainment Weekly, four of them are on their way to some sort of adaptation. 

Here’s the breakdown:

*Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, who produced Big Little Lies for HBO, have the rights to turn Truly Madly Guilty into a movie.

*Jennifer Aniston is supposedly in talks to start in a (I assume?) movie adaptation of What Alice Forgot.

*CBS Films optioned The Husband’s Secret five years ago, but not many details have been released.

*The film rights to Three Wishes were also sold years ago, but not much has come of it since.

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Show vs. Book: 1984

19841984 on Broadway: We are Big Brother

by Samantha Holle

It was a humid, sweltering day in September, and the clocks were striking three. It was time for the Sunday matinee of 1984.

In case you evaded reading it in high school, 1984 is the story of Winston Smith, an average Joe living in a not-so-average world: after tremendous world-wide territorial battles, Earth has been split into three superstates that are perpetually at one another’s throats. Winston lives in Oceania (what used to be London) and works at a government agency called the Ministry of Truth. His job is to literally rewrite history: when a person has been “unpersoned” — erased from society for going against the government — it is Winston’s job to go back into the files of history and remove any mention of this person’s name. The goal is to keep up the idea that Big Brother, the entity which governs and controls everything in Oceania, is never wrong, is never defied, and always comes up victorious.

But when we meet Winston, he is growing tired of this life. He has seen proof in his work that people who were labeled “government enemies” were not where they were said to be nor were they doing the illegal acts for which they were vaporized. Winston hates Big Brother and the society that lives for war, destruction, and the beating down of the human spirit.

Then he meets Julia, a coworker who, on the outside, doesn’t seem to be Winston’s type: She is a diligent worker at the MiniTruth (as the Ministry of Truth is called in the new vernacular, Newspeak). She screams the loudest and with the most vigor during the Two Minutes Hate, a daily event in which everyone watches a televised murder of an enemy of the state by government officials. It comes as a complete surprise to Winston when Julia quietly reveals that she, too, hates Big Brother and wants to defy the government by feeling love and experiencing freedom.

But there are no secrets in Oceania. Television screens can watch you as you watch them. Neighbors listen at keyholes for any sounds of dissent. People throw one another to the wolves to save themselves. And Winston and Julia soon find themselves biting off far more than they can chew when they get involved in the underground resistance movement called The Brotherhood. Their relationship — and their secret opinions of Big Brother — become more than an act of rebellion. Soon they have to decide which is preferable: a difficult life of defiance and secrecy, or an easy life of love for only Big Brother.

The novel has recently gained popularity, and it’s not hard to see why: Phrases like “fake news” and “alternative facts” pervade our conversations. People communicate via screen more frequently than they communicate in person, and the concept of handheld devices monitoring one’s actions and locations is now a definitive reality. There is little room for intelligent conversation between people of differing opinions, as the ability to argue without screaming has almost entirely disappeared. In these times, it seems every day has a little bit of a Two-Minutes Hate.

It is a dark thought: are we living in the world Orwell imagined almost 70 years ago?

That is the question that Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan pose to their audiences through their stage adaptation of the novel. The two brought Orwell’s 1948 publication to life  in 2013 in the UK; the play was brought to the Big Apple for previews this past May. Just a little over a month later, it began to make serious headlines because people began to fall ill as they watched, especially during the extreme torture scenes at the end.

As an English teacher who has read the novel twice, I went into the play fully aware of this. How bad could it be if I already know that what I’m going to see is disturbing?

The answer to that question: no number of articles about the play or my understanding of the book could’ve prepared me for it. I left the theater uneasy, nauseous, and dizzy. It wasn’t the strobe lights and sound effects, or the fake blood, or the electrocution scene, or the revelation about what really happens when a dissenter is brought into room 101. It was the way some things hit close to home: the bastardization of the English language in order to reduce meaning (and thus kill meaningful conversation), the discomfort between people of varying opinions, the confusion of trying to balance what one feels is right and what everyone else is doing. Yes, 1984 takes place in a dystopian future, but there are present day elements. The lines between the fictional content and our reality blur.

Content and nausea aside, what made this play stand out from any I’d seen previously was the incorporation of media. The production utilizes overhead projectors and hand-held video cameras to capture action that the audience cannot see from their seats: Winston’s diary entries are projected onto a screen above his head as he writes; Julia and Winston’s secret trysts are recorded off stage in a secret room and played on this same screen. This allows the audience to feel like Big Brother in that we have access to people’s privacy, but it also creates sympathy for those being watched.

Ultimately, the novel comes to life in disturbing vividness on Broadway. There is no better indicator of this play’s construction of confusion than the opening scene: Winston is writing in his diary, questioning if the year is actually 1984 or if that’s just what he’s been told. He is interrupted by the sudden appearance of a group who are discussing “the book” and that the act of writing it is, in and of itself, a small act of rebellion. The group explains that without the book, we’d have no way of knowing how bad the past really was and how to avoid these mistakes in the future. It is, at first, unclear about whether or not they are talking about Winston’s diary. Later, the audience comes to understand that this group was the resistance, and they were discussing the book of Emmanuel Goldstein, public enemy number one of Big Brother and leader of the Brotherhood.

However, is it such a stretch to imagine that they might have been talking about Orwell’s book?

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‘Casual Vacancy’ Lingerie Shop Causing Controversy

It wasn’t too long ago that I reported J.K. Rowling’s first adult book, The Casual Vacancy, was being adapted into a BBC miniseries, set to air in the U.S. in the next few months. It seems that the miniseries is now causing a bit of an uproar in a small English town.

According to Entertainment Weekly, a lingerie shop was built for the set of The Casual Vacancy in Painswick. The Casual Vacancy centers around a parish council, and now people in the village of Painswick are making complaints to their actual parish council about the lingerie shop, as Megan Daley explains:

“They complained about it at the local parish council meeting,” the show’s director, Jonny Campbell, told The Telegraph at a screening of the first episode at BAFTA. “They said it was a disgrace on the one hand, but on the other a couple of little old ladies with white hair came walking past, looking in the window, and said ‘we’ve already got all that stuff.’

Not going to lie…kind of love this story.

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Fans Praise ‘Pride and Prejudice’ Web Series

Almost 200 years after it was published, Pride and Prejudice is having a moment…online, that is.

According to The Daily Dot, a modernized version of the classic tale is now a web series, called the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, or LBD. It takes the form of a vlog hosted by the main character, Lizzie Bennet. The beauty of the series is that producers and writers can go in depth with the story, better describing the characters and using each episode to act out each chapter of the novel. Co-producer Hank Green got the idea for the series from his wife, who’s a big Jane Austen fan, and the now the series is taking off as Aja Romano explains.

Green promoted the show to his legions of fans, known as Nerdfighters. Thousands of them faithfully flocked to the LBD despite not having read the novel or knowing anything about the plot. This phenomenon led to an ongoing wonder in the comments of each YouTube video, as fans who know the story by heart interacted with fans who begged other fans not to spoil them for what happened next.

The big news this week is that after 59 web episodes — 59! — Darcy was finally introduced. Fans of the series took to Tumblr and Twitter to freak out about the episode. Here’s a clip of the 60th episode of the show:

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‘A Wrinkle in Time’ Adapted into Graphic Novel

Imagine re-reading your favorite childhood novel as an adult but doing so in picture form. For instance, imagine Harry Potter as a graphic novel 30 years from now (Wait, actually that’s an amazing idea and someone with talent should start sketching NOW). That’s what illustrator Hope Larson did with her favorite novel growing up, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time.

According to Huffington Post, Larson had given up illustration altogether; that is, until she was approached to illustrate her favorite novel as a child and turn it into a graphic novel. That’s exactly what she did. L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time is now available as a roughly 400-page graphic novel.

Larson told Huffington Post she had some concerns about putting the novel together.

What if I couldn’t do the book justice? What about the people-the people on the Internet-who throw up their hands and moan about their ruined childhoods whenever anyone adapts anything? Neither of those thoughts was as frightening as the possibility that someone else, someone who didn’t love the book as much as I did, would take the job and make a mess of things. I agreed to do it.

Personally, I think it’s kind of a great idea. What books/classics would you like to see turned into graphic novels — besides my already awesome Harry Potter suggestion?

Get A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel in hardcover for just $11.10.

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