Sunday Samples- October 23

I hope you’re all having a lazy and relaxing Sunday. To get you started for the upcoming week, I have rounded up the latest in adaptation news. Read on and enjoy.

– Everyone’s favorite mobile game Angry Birds is becoming a feature film. Rovio, the mobile company who produces Angry Birds, is teaming up with Marvel to produce the movie. I like shooting birds at those snarky green pigs as much as the next person, but I am curious to see how they will attempt to create a plot out of an essentially repetitive game.

Angry Birds movie: the dos and don’ts for Rovio’s pig-busting blockbuster

– Xan Brooks from British newspaper The Guardian writes a thought-provoking article on whether new movie The Help perpetuates old racial stereotypes in cinema or subverts them. I am in no position to comment on African-American racial stereotypes, but I believe that we as writers and audience members need to be mindful of this potentially explosive issue. I have read the novel upon which this movie is based (also titled The Help) and have mixed feelings. While I absolutely believe in the sincerity of author Kathryn Stockett’s efforts to explore the lives of these 1960s Southern maids, I am not convinced she manages to do this without falling back on stereotypes. Judge for yourself.

Is The Help helping? Domestic servants on film in today’s Hollywood

– It seems to be the week of defying racial stereotypes. Tola Onanuga writes how director Andrea Arnold’s upcoming feature adaptation of the classic novel Wuthering Heights is breaking new ground by casting a mixed race actor in the legendary role of Heathcliff.  Although Emily Bronte’s novel describes Heathcliff as a “dark-skinned gypsy”, the film industry has only cast white actors in the role until now.

Wuthering Heights realises Bronte’s vision with its dark-skinned Heathcliff

– Review for upcoming feature We Need to Talk About Kevin, adapted from the 2003 novel by the same name. I adore this haunting novel whose twist ending and uncomfortable subject matter is compelling to the very end. Can a child be born evil? Or is Kevin just a product of his upbringing? Like the audience, Kevin’s mother wrestles with the same questions. This adaptation with Tilda Swinton in the lead role appears promising, I will write a more extensive post once I get to see the film.

We Need to Talk About Kevin- review

–  Bucking stereotypes once again, our next article features vision-impaired screenwriter Ryan Knighton who is adapting Paul Hoffman’s novel Wings of Madness: Alberto Santos-Dumont and the Invention of Flight. Knighton is also adapting his own novel Cockeyed under Jodie Foster’s mentorship. The article talks about how something that some people would consider a handicap has actually benefited Knighton’s career as writer. A truly inspiring read, I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on Knighton’s future projects.

Scribe adapts “Wings” for “Ice Age” helmer

– Classic John Milton poem Paradise Lost is being produced by Legendary Pictures and released by Warner Bros. In intriguing casting news, Bradley Cooper is to play Lucifer and Casey Affleck the angel Gabriel. The cast also includes actors Djimon Hounsou and Camilla Belle. I admittedly haven’t gotten around to reading this famous poem yet, perhaps this movie will nudge me into checking it out.

‘Anonymous’ actor joins ‘Paradise Lost’

– TV channel Syfy is developing drama The Communion Letters inspired by non-fiction book Communion. Writer Whitley Strieber states that in 1985, he was abducted by non-humans from upstate New York. The book goes on to examine multiple people’s claims of alien abduction. Not sure what to make of this one, but Syfy is definitely the best place for this project. I wonder if it will be like a detective show, but with weekly alien abductions instead of murders.

Syfy ready to take ‘Communion’

– The Disney channel is taking on classic novel Cyrano De Bergerac and turning it into a gospel/hip hop musical that will premiere Summer 2012 under the new title Let it Shine. Cyrano is now insecure 16 year old rapper Cyrus who is crazy in love with the beautiful Roxanne. This project sounds like another hit for Disney as it rides on the coattails of megahit High School Musical while offering a more substantial story. We’ll have to wait and see how the tv movie turns out.

‘Cyrano’ remake is music to Disney Channel

– A German production company is looking to adapt Austrian writer Ursula Poznanski’s YA novel Erebos. Erebos is about a deadly computer game that takes control of its players. If this project can find a US co-producer, I imagine that this could do well among Hollywood’s traditional audience of 18-25 year old guys.

All In, Studio Babelsberg tackle ‘Erebos’

-Swedish production company Yellow Bird is adapting Swedish novel Italian Shoes. Famous actor Kenneth Branagh is directing. Richard Cottan is adapting this story about an elderly man who is reunited with an old flame who forces him to make good on a long ago promise to take her to a pool in the forest. I read this novel about 6 months ago, wasn’t a huge fan as I found the book a bit slow in terms of the plot. However, I can see why actors would be thrilled to have these juicy character roles to play as these characters are full of secrets.

Yellow Bird steps out with “Italian Shoes”

– In news that I had to read twice to believe, Australia will have a King Kong musical in 2013. The 1932 novel has been adapted into countless of movies over the years and will now grace Melbourne’s Regent Theater in animatronics form. The new musical is titled King Kong- Live on Stage. Producers are hoping the show will make it to Broadway.

Global Creatures prep King Kong Tuner

– Actress Anne Hathaway just landed the female lead Fantine in Universal’s newest adaptation of Les Miserables. The film also stars Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe. Production begins in February with a slated release date for December 2012. Les Miserables is an 1862 Victor Hugo novel which has been adapted countless of times for theatre and film. Hathaway has a beautiful singing voice, but time will tell if she can step into Fantine’s iconic shoes.

Hathaway set for ‘Les Miserables’

– Just to show that the potential for adaptations are limitless, CBS interactive division Gamespot has launched a reality show based on EA videogame Battlefield 3. The weekly online series pairs pro gamers with beginners hoping to secure a $50,000 prize. The pros will train the amateurs to compete in Battlefield 3 shooter challenges. I am not certain if this counts as an adaptation since the game itself features in the series rather than becoming the series, but it is certainly an interesting testament to the rapidly narrowing boundaries between games and dramas.

Bunim/Murray plan vidgame-based series

That’s all for this week’s news, tomorrow kicks off the first adaptation case study with Never Let Me Go.

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