Friday, August 05, 2005

this weekend's essay: books you actually want to see made into movies

granted, as a general rule, i cringe when i hear that someone has decided to make a film version of a book--especially one i love. yet every now and then, i'll read something and think, this would make a really interesting movie. so...assuming that you all (whoever you are) occasionally think the same thing, i've decided to ask: which book(s) would you like to see made into a film? if you like, you can include who you'd want to direct and/or star in the film version.

some of my picks are:

the phantom tollbooth: there was an animated version of norton juster's classic tale of a young boy bored with life done maybe 30 years ago. i remember watching it in 5th grade after reading the book for the umpteenth time (it's a favorite of mine), and being extremely disappointed (even more than when i saw the animated version of the hobbit). i think it'd be really interesting to do a non-animated version of this. wouldn't you want to see how they used technology to create the watchdog or those things that blend in with other objects when milo's in the doldrums? i wouldn't mind another burton-depp hook-up for this one.

invisible man: i just think this would be a really fascinating exercise. whenever i read im, i read it almost as if the story is one long point of view shot from the im's perspective, with a few other shots thrown in every now and again. though they'd have to cut out significant parts of the text--or the movie would be like 8 hours long--i'd really like to see what a really smart team of filmmakers could do with this text. i doubt it'd be a "successful" film. meaning, somebody just interested in the process of creating the project would prolly have to fund it, because i doubt it'd turn a profit at the box office. i also think that the movie wouldn't even be that good. still, i'd like to see someone try to film it. i've no idea who i'd like to see direct the movie. but neither john singleton nor spike lee are on the top of my list. (sorry, spike, i think ellison did a good enough job of creating "problematic" female figures on his own.) and though she'd prolly play a killer mary rambo, oprah should be banned from the set at all times.

song of solomon: if beloved is the second least film-friendly (paradise being number one) toni morrison text, i think song of solomon--along with tar baby and sula--is prolly one of the most film friendly.** i'd really like to see a film version of this because whenever i read it, i get this image of an extremely colorful world. not like willy wonka colorful. but more like...well, whenever i imagine milkman on the bus heading south through the rural areas, i get this image of really verdant green surrounding his bus. i imagine all of his ancestors in shalimar, virginia having really shiny (like been coated in vaseline and sweat) skin. and, i mean, don't you want to see circe surrounded by all those dogs? it'd be sort of frightening (i do get a bit scared whenever i read that part of the book, and can't imagine how milkman didn't lose all his shit), but i really wanna see it. again, i've no clue who'd be a good match for this. i just know i don't want to see oprah name on anything affiliated with this. not even a check.

(though i have issues with odd numbers--except for the number 11 i just don't like them, but that's a long story that would do nothing but further confirm my insanity--i'm going to stop at three.)

have a great saturday and sunday.

**some useless info: akosua busia--nettie from the color purple, and john singleton's baby mama--wrote the screenplay for beloved. her sister, abena busia, is a poet and professor of english at rutgers university. also, while we're on the topic of toni morrison books to film, suzan lori-parks, the woman that wrote getting mothers body (a rewriting of as i lay dying) and the teleplay for their eyes were watching god, is allegedly writing the screeplay for paradise. which is (the writing of a screen version, that is), in my reading of the novel, damn near impossible, and anti-thetical to the point of the book.

language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names. language alone is meditation. ~toni morrison


Blogger Jdid said...

i think a movie based on invisible man would drive me crazy cause as you said so much would have to be cut.

5/8/05 10:44  
Blogger Karsh said...

I swear...I just regaled a co-worker with a tale of how cool it would be if The Phantom Tollbooth were made into a movie; that was (and still is) one of my all-time favorite books. The symphony at sunrise...the juicy numbers and letters...the princesses Rhyme and Reason....

It would be on and poppin'!

5/8/05 15:05  
Blogger Karsh said...

And I wouldn't mind seeing "Getting Mother's Body" as a movie either while we're on the Suzan Lori-Parks kick. Just don't make Meagan Good as Billy Beede.

5/8/05 15:07  
Blogger Miss Jessi said...

There's a screenplay for Paradise? Are these people crazy? If they didn't confuse the hell out of people enough withy Beloved... Paridise? It took me forever to read that book... I like to think I'm pretty intelligent, but that book had me scratching my head... all the back and forth time travel... shit, I'm done...

5/8/05 19:25  
Blogger Lee said...

I agree about the Invisible Man movie. At one level, that book is incredibly cinematic by itself (the opening chapter, "Battle Royal," might make a good short film by itself), but trying to make a two hour feature that was faithful to the book would just involve cutting so much. Still, I'd see it.

My picks: Anything by Iris Murdoch. She wrote really good plots. I'm not sure how well they'd translate into film, but I'd sure as hell like to see what they'd do.

Or Simone de Beauvoir's autobiographical novel "The Mandarins." If you haven't read that, you should. It's just a great story.

5/8/05 21:35  
Blogger Morcy said...

of books I've read recently, I think Petry's The narrows would make a decent movie, but I can't remember why on earth I thought this. Thinking back on Chronicle of a Death Foretold, or whatever it's called, I think it'd be great, too, seeing as it's a sort of murder mystery. I just finished The Name of the Rose, and it's apparently already a movie that is in my netflix q. But I think the Chronicle, by being so short and plot-driven, would be really good. In fact, so would Love in the Time of Cholera, but both would need to be made by a subtle director. Sadly, the latter will be made by Miramax and will suck.

Maybe Black No More, too. That movie would break heads, I think.

5/8/05 22:27  
Blogger Morcy said...

speaking of books... how's the Summer of Faulkner coming along?

6/8/05 19:03  
Anonymous ~eLLe~ said...

i actually cried when i saw waiting 2 exhale after having read it. sometimes, these people should just leave their cameras OFF.

8/8/05 00:11  
Blogger fuss said...

I would like every Octavia Butler book ever written to be made into a movie. Especially "Kindred" and the "The Parable of the Talents/Sower." But I would need to do all the casting (Gina Torres, get ready to become a star), have complete creative control and final cut. *goes off to write screenplays*

8/8/05 10:00  

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