Thursday, September 4, 2014

Film News Roundup

There have been several high-profile book-to-film projects buzzing about Hollywood this week. Here's a quick look at some of the key stories.

Ridley Scott and Matt Damon have been linked to an adaptation of the Andy Weir novel The Martian (published by Crown) for some time, but now comes word from Deadline that Jessica Chastain and Kristen Wiig may play the lead female roles in the sci-fi drama. The film is set to be released by 20th Century Fox in November 2015. The book follows an astronaut struggling to survive Mars after he is accidentally stranded on the Red Planet. Chastain will next appear in another sci-fi epic, Christopher Nolan's Interstellar. I read a good portion of The Martian a few months ago when I plundered my local Barnes and Noble and was intrigued by the story, but was put off at the sometimes juvenile dialogue and humor. Let's just say there was more bathroom humor than I anticipated.

From the folks at The Wrap, George Clooney is set to direct a film version of the Nick Davies book Hack Attack (published by Faber and Faber), which chronicled the British tabloid phone hacking scandal that rocked Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Sony Pictures, where Clooney has an overall deal, will distribute the film and according to Jordan Zakarin, production will start next year. If this film is anything like Clooney's previous foray into journalism, 2005's "Good Night and Good Luck," I'll see it opening weekend.

Given the Hack Attack news plus recent book to film adaptations from Sony like "Moneyball," "Captain Phillips," "The Social Network" and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," it should come as no surprise the film studio has reached into the publishing world and hired Ryan Doherty, the former senior editor of Random House imprints Ballantine, Bantam and Dell. According to Mike Fleming at Deadline, Doherty was the editor of some of the imprints' narrative nonfiction including Toms River by Dan Fagin and the Jim Henson biography by Brian Jay Jones (both have been on my TBR list for some time). Given the recent reshuffling at Penguin Random House, it will be interesting to see how these moves will affect the publishing giant going forward.

Fans of the Jojo Moyes bestseller Me Before You may or may not have imagined Daenerys Targaryen and Finnick as Lou and Will, but actors Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin have snagged the lead roles. Clarke, who has garnered a large following on the heels of her role in "Game of Thrones" and Claflin, who starred in the most recent Pirates of the Caribbean and Hunger Games movies, will be seen together on the big screen in this romance adaptation next August. More details can be found here.

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