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Quirky Art Dealers and YA Ninjas: Books to Film in 2015

Read Monday, 26 Jan 2015

In the latest in our occasional series of book-to-film updates, we bring you Johnny Depp’s latest outing (reportedly, the books are great but you might want to miss the film), the new adaptations of John Green, Patricia Highsmith and Thomas Hardy, and Paul Thomas Anderson’s film of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice.

Johnny Depp is quirky again: Mortdecai

The latest vehicle for Johnny Depp’s signature brand of zaniness is Mortdecai, based on a trio of books featuring a character of the same name, by novelist and art dealer Kyril Bonfiglioli. The book was originally snapped up after the film’s screenwriter stumbled on Don’t Point That Thing at Me in a second-hand bookshop and fell in love with it; for a time, it was intended for Sacha Baron Cohen. The book’s admirers include Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry and Julian Barnes. The film, so far, seems to faring not nearly so well: it bombed at the US box office and critics have not been kind. Even the screenwriter, who hopes to make a second film, seems dubious about his leading man’s performance. ‘The moment Johnny takes on a character, it changes,’ he said.

The LA Times says: ‘If the Mortdecai of the books can be fairly described as halfway between James Bond and Bertie Wooster, the Mortdecai of the movie is more like the unfortunate love child of Austin Powers and Inspector Clouseau — benign but befuddled, and bullied, bested or brow-beaten by everyone around him.’

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Inherent Vice

Paul Thomas Anderson has reunited with Joaquin Phoenix (the Master) and an all-star cast (Owen Wilson, Martin Short, Josh Brolin, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio Del Toro) for the adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s comic noir Inherent vice. The trailer is available now (below).

New John Green adaptation: Paper Towns

The Fault in our Stars, John Green’s YA tearjerker (read and loved by all ages, including many Wheeler Centre staff) was one of the most popular films of 2014. Paper Towns, a high-school mystery that involves a girl dressed as a ninja, an elaborate revenge scheme, and Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, debuted at number five on the New York Times bestseller list – and in June, it will be released as a film.

Here’s John Green himself on the film, introducing the actors and the director.

New Patricia Highsmith adaptation: Carol

Patricia Highsmith was the creator of literary (and cinematic) icon Tom Ripley, in The Talented Mr Ripley and its sequels. There have been other, lesser, adaptations of her novels on the screen since the Ripley films, but Carol, an adaptation of The Price of Salt by Todd Haynes (Far from Heaven, Safe) and starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, looks especially promising. The 1952 novel ‘follows a love affair between a young woman trapped in a department store job that she hates and the suburban housewife who sets her free’.


Far from the Madding Crowd

Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd is the latest work of classic fiction to be adapted for the big screen. Carey Mulligan will star as Bathsheba, the strong-minded country heiress, with Michael Sheen, Matthias Schoenaerts and Tom Sturridge. The screenplay is by novelist David Nicholls, author of One Day and Us, as well as the screenplay for the 2012 film of Great Expectations. You can watch the trailer below.

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