Life of Pi by Yann Martel has sold more than seven million copies worldwide. No doubt the Booker Prize-winning novel about a boy named Pi stranded on a lifeboat—with a Bengal tiger!—has moved countless readers. (President Obama famously called the novel "an elegant proof of God, and the power of storytelling.")
On November 21, you can see Ang Lee's film adaptation of the novel—in 3D. Today, 20th Century Fox debuted the trailer:
What do you think? I have to say that I am so excited. Though it was thrilling to imagine a 16-year-old boy stranded on a lifeboat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean—alone with a 450-pound tiger—it is quite something to see the scenario in color, on the screen. This looks like a book adaptation that may actually leave viewers breathless.
We told you this morning that Erik Larson's In the Garden of Beasts is #10 on our Best Books of 2011 list, but now I have another exciting tidbit to share. The Hollywood Reporter has, well, reported that Universal has optioned the rights to Larson's riveting nonfiction book about the first year of Nazi rule, with Tom Hanks to produce (and possibly star).
BookPage interviewed Larson for our May issue. Here's a sampling from the conversation, about the author's research for the book:
“When you get immersed in this era there’s something so repulsive about it that it can really drag you down,” Larson explains. “No one really studies the very first year of Hitler’s rule. This is about the first dark warnings on the horizon.
“What I found was that when you’re writing a book like this, in territory that has been pretty heavily mined in other ways, you have to read the basics. And there are a lot of basics to read. You just have to read and read and read. That’s what starts to infect you,” he says. “It’s the accumulation of these little bits and pieces of horror. It began to drag me down. And you feel this immense frustration: Why didn’t anybody do anything?”
Though Larson, author of The Devil in the White City, Thunderstruck and Isaac’s Storm, has never had a book be turned into a movie—faithful blog readers will know that The Devil in the White City is under development with Leonardo DiCaprio set to star.
By the way, though I'm sure many authors dream of having their books turned into blockbusters and finding themselves on "best of the year" lists, Larson has another distinction. On a downtown walk over the weekend, I stopped by the Legislative Plaza (home of the Southern Festival of Books) to see what was going on with Occupy Nashville. The "People's Library" was stocked with a good number of volumes, mostly old paperbacks. However, I spied one protester deeply engrossed in a hardcover: a copy of In the Garden of Beasts.
What 2011 books would you like to see made into movies?
Just in case any readers missed the big reveal on Good Morning America today, here is the official Hunger Games trailer!
Ever since I read The Hunger Games and heard it was being turned into a movie, I've thought that it's one thing to read about teenagers massacring each other—and another thing to see it unfold on a 50-foot tall screen. (Although now that I think about it, I'm not sure which is worse. It's pretty horrifying to have those images come alive in your imagination.)
If you've wondered about the look in Katniss's eyes when she hears Prim's name called during the Reaping, or when she talks to Gale . . . wonder no more, and watch the trailer now.
The movie hits theaters on March 23. Who's excited? (And who's worried that she will have to watch half the movie with covered eyes?)
It's been an interesting few years for Jane Austen fans. With homages, continuations and mashups of the 19th-century novelist's works coming at a dizzying pace, it's hard to know which are worth reading.
One of the few that belong in that camp is Shannon Hale's Austenland, which I found "clever and imaginative" back in 2007. Hollywood agreed; the book was optioned for a movie and Hale spent 7 weeks on the set last month. It stars Jennifer Coolidge, Keri Russell and JJ Feild.
Now Hale has written another book set at Pembroke Park, a British estate where you can live the Regency lifestyle (for a price). Midnight in Austenland's heroine, Charlotte, is escaping her recently remarried ex and their ungrateful children. Like Jane, the heroine of Austenland, Charlotte finds herself more caught up in the activities at Pembroke than she thought she'd be—and it's hard to tell where fantasy ends and reality begins. The book will be published in January by Bloomsbury.
Here's the first few lines:
No one who knew Charlotte Constance Kinder since her youth would suppose her born to be a heroine. She was a practical girl even from infancy, only fussing as much as was necessary and exhibiting no alarming opinions. Common wisdom asserts that heroes are born from great calamity, and yet our Charlotte’s early life was pretty standard. Not only did her parents avoid fatal accidents, they never once locked her up in a hidden attic room.
Sounds kind of like Northanger Abbey to me. Will you check out Midnight in Austenland?
Even if you haven't read it yet (the novel only came out on August 23), you've probably at least heard of The Language of Flowers. The novel is about 18-year-old Victoria, a young woman who has nowhere to go after "aging out" of foster care. The story flashes back to her experiences bouncing from one foster situation to the next, then explores what happens when Victoria discovers her interest in the symbolism and secret meanings of flowers.
We liked this big-hearted debut novel so much that we interviewed author Vanessa Diffenbaugh for our September issue. If you read the interview, it is clear that this story was very much inspired by Diffenbaugh's passion. She told BookPage contributor Deanna Larson that she and her husband have been foster parents throughout their marriage, and she's even started an organization, The Camellia Network, to support young adults leaving foster care.
Learn more in our live interview with Diffenbaugh at Book Expo America:
Soon, you're going to start hearing about The Language of Flowers even more; Fox 2000 has acquired the rights to produce a movie version, and Lucy Fisher and Douglas Wick will produce it. (They are producers of Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, which is up there on my own personal list of most anticipated movies for 2012.)
Readers are clearly interested in the novel, too; last week it hit the New York Times bestseller list for the first time.
Have you read The Language of Flowers? If so, do you think it would make a compelling movie?
By the way, if your book club is reading this one, there are a lot of resources on Diffenbaugh's website.
Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin and several other young actresses were rumored to be in the running for this role, and I suspect many fans will raise eyebrows at Lawrence's casting. As we learn early on in The Hunger Games, Katniss has "straight black hair," "olive skin" and "gray eyes," and the blonde, fair Lawrence does not fit this physical description. (She's also four years older than the 16-year-old Katniss.) Still: Appearances aren't everything, and Lawrence's tough, haunting performance in Winter's Bone convinced me that she could be at home in the arena of Panem.
The Hunger Games movie comes out March 23, 2012. Only 366 days to mull over who should play Peeta and Gale, and try to imagine Cinna's amazing costumes!
What do you think of the new Katniss?
Also in BookPage: Read reviews of The Hunger Games and Mockingjay; read an interview with Suzanne Collins about Catching Fire. Also: Watch a video of some very enthusiastic Hunger Games fans.
Start your countdown clocks, Hunger Games fans: Lionsgate Studios announced that they'll release the much-anticipated film version of The Hunger Games on March 23, 2012. But though director Gary Ross plans to begin production on the film this spring, no casting announcements have been made yet. Maybe he's waiting to see if Haillee Steinfeld wins the Academy Award before officially hiring her on?
Collins, a former screenwriter, handled the adaptation of her best-selling novel herself, telling us in a 2009 interview that she was "looking forward to telling the story in a different medium. Of course we will be handling the subject matter very carefully and anticipate that the film will have a PG-13 rating."
On the day the Oscar noms roll in, featuring many films with a literary angle like The King's Speech and The Social Network, news broke of another literary adaptation: Louis Bayard's The Pale Blue Eye. We're fans of Bayard's work here at BookPage and can't wait to see what Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper (who is also adapting Hillenbrand's Unbroken for the big screen) will do with this story of Edgar Allen Poe's early years as a West Point cadet.
Bayard fans can look for our review of his next novel, The School of Night, in April.
She's just finishing up filming on One for the Money, but a New York Times profile hints that Katherine Heigl has a new literary adaptation in the works: Diana Gabaldon's Outlander. Randall Wallace (Braveheart) is adapting this time-travel romance for the big screen, and a release date of 2012 is projected.
Evanovich fans (well, at least the ones who comment on our site) aren't big on the idea of Heigl as Stephanie Plum—will Gabaldon readers embrace the actress? T.Y. at the Lit Connection, who's a big Outlander saga fan, is an advocate for an unknown actress, and a brief scan of some fan sites turned up names like Kate Beckinsale and Kate Winslet. (At least Heigl's in the right first-name neighborhood.)
Any opinions on this casting?
Related in BookPage: reviews of Diana Gabaldon's books; an interview about the latest installment, An Echo in the Bone; a Q&A about Drums of Autumn and a blog post on the upcoming 8th book in the Outlander saga.
Today we learned he's profiled—and photographed in a bird-watching pose—for the September issue of Vogue. (Most revealing quote? “Freedom is my most autobiographical book.")
Finally, Deadline New York reports that producer Scott Rudin has bought the movie rights to Freedom. Here's more from writer Mike Fleming:
Rudin—who years back optioned The Corrections—hasn't yet set Freedom at a studio or assigned a writer to adapt it. But I'm told Franzen's reps at CAA completed the deal just before the issue of Time hit newsstands today.
Have you pre-ordered a copy?