Fans of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series got exciting news this week: The BBC, that most trusted of literary adaptors, will be adapting the trilogy for television. They'll start with an eight-part series that will focus on the first book, Northern Lights—known as The Golden Compass in the U.S.—and hope to continue "for many episodes and seasons to come," according to co-producer (and former BBC executive) Jane Tranter, who also commented that "the broad horizons of television suggests itself as the best of vehicles to capture the expansiveness of the story and worlds of Lyra and Will." Pullman will serve as executive producer.
The series has already been adapted as a graphic novel and a stage play, as well as feature film, which premiered in 2007 to lackluster reviews in spite of an all-star cast that included Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. Rumor has it that Hollywood execs shied away from Pullman's darker themes, especially his controversial attitudes toward religion, resulting in a lack of resonance with audiences.
No word yet on casting, but we'll keep you posted. Any fantasy fans excited about this one?
Lisa Genova's remarkable 2009 debut, Still Alice, stands out for its sensitive portrayal of an intelligent woman faced with a diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer's. In fact, the book was one of those rare self-published success stories—it was picked up by Gallery Books, who will also publish Inside the O'Briens, her fourth novel, in April.
This week, the film version of Still Alice will hit cinemas. Starring Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin and Kristen Stewart, the film is already generating some awards buzz. (An actress playing a character with an illness is second only to an actress playing "ugly" when it comes to Oscar bait.) I dare you to not tear up at some point during the trailer below.
Will you see it?
Here's some timely news as we approach Halloween: Mary Downing Hahn's spooky 1980s classic, Wait Till Helen Comes, is heading to the big screen. The story of two fractious stepsisters, Molly and Heather, who move to an isolated old home where one of them is befriended by a ghost is deliciously creepy, and contains real emotional heart. Eight-year-old me must have read this book a dozen times—each time, I was scared by but also sorry for Helen, whose loneliness allows her to connect to the similarly isolated and unhappy Heather. Wait Till Helen Comes is a true classic—it's been in print since it was first published in 1986—and Hahn is still writing today.
The sisters will be played by real-life sisters Isabelle (Mama) and Sophie (The Book Thief) Nelisse, and Maria Bello has been cast as the mother/stepmother.
In spite of the fact that it's directed by Jennifer Love Hewitt, I'm still hoping this adaptation turns out better than the one for another of my childhood favorites, Betty Ren Wright's The Dollhouse Murders (aka Secrets in the Attic). Now if someone will just make a movie of Christopher Pike's Remember Me, Zilpha Keatley Snyder's Cupid series or some of Richard Peck's Blossom Culp novels, I can relive my childhood ghost story addiction in full . . .
What's your favorite ghost story?
Though Jason Mott's second novel won't hit shelves until September 30, the film rights were snapped up earlier this month by Lionsgate. The Wonder of All Things (MIRA) tells the story of a young girl whose miraculous healing powers are discovered by the media after a horrible accident. (read more)
Though the novel isn't YA, its teenaged heroine makes the film likely to appeal to fans of recent book-to-film blockbusters like The Hunger Games or the upcoming The Giver, and Lionsgate also cites films with a supernatural twist, like The Green Mile.
Mott's first novel, The Returned, was adapted into a popular ABC-TV series.
Any ideas about who should be cast as 13-year-old Ava?
It looks like Hollywood has discovered Liane Moriarty, but let the record show that BookPage was there first!
Yesterday it was announced that Reese Witherspoon's production company had optioned Moriarty's latest, Big Little Lies, for film, in a partnership with the production company of Australian actor Nicole Kidman. Although that wasn't a total surprise to those who follow Witherspoon on Instagram.
Moriarty is credited as a producer of the film. Both Kidman and Witherspoon are set to star, but which role they will play remains a mystery. My vote puts Kidman as the ethereally lovely Celeste, and Witherspoon as the sassy Madeline—or perhaps she'll go against type and play quiet single mom Jane? Either way, sounds like a winning adaptation to me. What do you think?