Sunday Samples – October 30

One more day until Halloween! I hope you all have fantastic costumes lined up for this year and a queue of horror movies on Netflix. Top of my list are adaptations The Others (inspired by the Henry James novella The Turn of the Screw) and Silence of the Lambs (adapted from the 1988 novel by Thomas Harris). Don’t be scared of missing out on the latest in adaptation news, I’ve rounded up the latest for your eyes.

From the Oct/Nov issue of Script Magazine’s column Who Sold What to Whom:

– Gold Circle Films is adapting David Rosenfelt’s novel On Borrowed Time. The novel is about a journalist whose beloved dies and no one in his life believes that the woman actually existed. He must investigate and prove that she wasn’t just a fantasy. Michael Lander has been hired to adapt the script. Lander has quite the challenge ahead for him to keep this material fresh as there have been several movies with similar disappearing lover concepts.

– Summit Entertainment recently bought the rights to Brian Haberlin’s comic book series Area 52. Area 52 is about a secret government center in Antarctica whose inhabitants are forced to fend for themselves after an alien killer is unleashed.

– Production company Benderspink has optioned the film rights to Adrian Magson’s novel Red Station. Red Station is about disgraced MI5 agent Harry Tate who is banished to Red Station, an outpost in rural Georgia (the country, not the US state). When two other agents go missing, Tate investigates the truth and finds himself ensnared in a Russian-English conspiracy.

– Author Michael Lewis (The Blind Side) has been hired to adapt his own nonfiction book Liar’s Poker about his time working as a bond trader in the 1980s. If this script is the scathing expose I imagine it to be, this project is quite timely with all the Occupy Wall Street protests going on at the moment. I am curious to see if they will take their cue from the recent adaptation of 80s movie Wall Street and set the story in our current global recession.

– Looks like Greece is getting star treatment with an upcoming feature film adaptation of famous Greek opera singer Maria Callas’ biography Too Proud, Too Fragile. Callas is one of the most controversial opera singers of the 20th century, famous for her diva behavior and personal tragedies. The new project, titled Callas, is being penned by Niki Caro (Whale Rider). The film will be produced by the Rome-based production company De Angelis Group.

– Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros. are remaking 1991 surfing thriller Point Break. The original starred Keanu Reeves as an FBI agent investigating bank robbers and Patrick Swayze as the ringleader. Screenwriter Kurt Wimmer’s version will take place in the extreme sports world as the FBI agent tries to crack a crime ring. Sounds a lot like the first The Fast and the Furious film, BMX style. No word if Keanu will be back for the remake.

– In one of those multi-level adaptations, a new feature film Mortal Kombat is currently adapted from the web series Mortal Kombat: Rebirth. The web series  itself is an adaptation of the latest Mortal Kombat game and served as promotional material. New Line has commissioned writers Kevin Tancharoen and Oren Uziel to write the feature. Tancharoen will also be directing. To my knowledge, there is no relation between this upcoming movie and the 1995 movie of the same name. The original Mortal Kombat game was created for arcades back in 1992, hard to believe how far this game has come along in almost 20 years. My older brother first introduced me to this game on Nintendo 64 back in 1996. I used to pester him constantly for the chance to take on female warrior persona Jade. Ah, memories.

From the Oct/Nov issue of Script Magazine’s column From Script to Screen:

– David S. Cohen’s column details the evolution of the script for new movie The Rum Diary. The latest Johnny Depp movie The Rum Diary is an adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s novel with the same name. The Rum Diary is about a reporter who moves to Puerto Rico to work for a failing newspaper and finds himself in a heap of trouble. The novel is loosely based on Thompson’s early experiences working as a reporter in Puerto Rico. Depp personally recruited writer-director Bruce Robinson onto the project. Robinson provides a good insight into the adaptation process from a writer’s perspective.

Tom Stoppard pens Shakespeare in Love stage adaptation

– 1998 film Shakespeare in Love is being adapted for the London theatre scene with the support of Disney. Stoppard, who co-wrote the original screenplay, is writing the stage play. Believe it or not, the adaptation was originally conceived as a musical. Good thing they decided to stick to drama. No word if Gwyneth Paltrow will hit the boards to re-enact her Oscar-winning role. The film was well-loved at the time, but will it still be relevant 14 years later? 

Peta takes aim at We Bought a Zoo

– Cameron Crowe’s latest movie We Bought a Zoo has inspired the wrath of animal rights organization PETA. PETA is pleading with filmmakers to insert a warning before the film about the dangers of owning exotic animals. The issue is quite timely after the recent tragedy in Ohio where more than 50 zoo animals were killed after being released from their cages. We Bought a Zoo is loosely based on Benjamin Mee’s non-fiction book with the same name, written about his experience buying a zoo in Dartmoor. The film premiers on the 23 December 2011 and stars Matt Damon, Elle Fanning and Scarlett Johansson.

Once Upon a Time and Grimm

–  Just in time for Halloween, Slate Magazine writer Troy Patterson discusses two of the hot new TV series based on fairy tales. First he discusses Once Upon a Time, a modern reimaging of Snow White.  In this gorgeous version of the tale, Snow White and company are trapped in the modern world and can only be saved by Emma, the orphaned daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. See Television Thursdays: One Upon a Time for a more in-depth look. Then Patterson reviews Grimm, a series about cop Nick Burkhardt who discovers he comes from a long line of supernatural criminal profilers. He literally sees the monsters all around us. It is up to Nick to hunt down the supernatural killers around us.

Micro-budget film is back with Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing and Joss Whedon on his secret film of “Much Ado About Nothing”: ‘This is the best vacation I’ve ever taken’

– The all-powerful Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dollhouse, Firefly) has just made a micro-budget production of Shakespearean theatre play Much Ado About Nothing while taking a break from filming the big budget comic book adaptation The Avengers. As you do. Whedon roped together actor friends from previous projects and filmed the secret project at his house. His very understanding wife encouraged him to make his dream come true instead of taking a month-long vacation for their 20th anniversary. The film is about to hit the festival circuit and hopefully will get distribution soon.

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